PESHAWAR: The brick kiln owners of Nowshera district have taken the communication ministry to the Peshawar High Court over the new loading restrictions claiming that the move has caused them huge losses.

The petitioners, including Brick Kilns Owners Association, Nowshera, president Haji Yousaf Khan and general secretary Mohammad Ashraf Khan, had challenged the communication ministry’s letter and the subsequent notice for the implementation of the axle load regime (ALR) on highways and motorways.

They said the notice was ambiguous and self-contradictory about the permissible weight for different axle vehicles.

They also seek court orders for authorities against interference in their business

The petitioners requested the court to declare the May 23, 2019, letter and the subsequent notice illegal, un-implementable and illogical.

They also sought the court’s directions for the respondents, including the ministry of communication, National and Highway Authority through its chairman, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary, Motorway Police’s director general, and KP inspector general of police against interference in their lawful business.

The petitioners, who moved the court through lawyers Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel and Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel said no reference to any law had been made in the ministry’s letter.

They added that the relevant law on the matter was the National Highway Safety Ordinance, 2000, whose Article 89 revealed that the government should make rules in consultation with the National Highways and Pakistan Motorway Police by notification on the official gazette to carry into effect the provisions of the ordinance’s relevant chapter.

The petitioners said the NHA chairman had circulated a notice showing the maximum load, which could be carried by vehicles with various axles.

They said both the letter and notice did not make it clear whether some rules had been framed to implement the ordinance.

The petitioners claimed that the load mentioned at the bottom of the notice didn’t correspond with the load limit given in the body of the notice and therefore, it was self-contradictory.

They contended that there was a prevalent procedure of check and balance on the weight of vehicles and that was done on highways, while a separate checkpost had been set up on highways for the purpose.

The petitioners said no obstacle like the impugned letter had been created for them since the British rule in the region and that there had been no complaint whatsoever regarding any damage or any nuisance created by loaded trucks on roads as they were mainly allowed to ply at night and sometimes after midnight until morning.

They claimed that they used to load 7,000 bricks on a single axle vehicle, which had been reduced to almost half, while the load limit for a tandem axle vehicle, which used to carry 10,000-11000 bricks, had been reduced to 4,800 bricks.

The petitioners said they had to pay double the amount of goods carriage and thus, suffering huge losses.

They said if the ALR was implemented, the cost of bricks would be doubled inconveniencing the people as well.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2019