India Truckers' strike enters fifth day

Yellow truck on highway

July 24, 2018 - The nationwide strike called by All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) entered its fifth day today. Major industries across the country are hit as the inter-state goods movement has come to a standstill.

Through an indefinite strike, the AIMTC is also protesting ‘flawed and non-transparent’ toll collection system, which costs them time and fuel loss worth Rs 1,50,000 crore annually. The truckers also claim that the system favors the road concessioners.

One of their demands is a reduction in third-party premium in insurance and exemption on premium from GST. Exemptions and abolition of indirect taxes, national permits for all buses and trucks are also on the list. They insist on removing the direct port delivery tendering system.

Losses continue across India

Across India, losses due to the ongoing strike are pegged at Rs 10,000 crore, with Maharashtra alone seeing over Rs 2,000 crore. Vegetable and fruit supplies, dairy supplies and movement of manufactured goods in major cities have been hit.

Traders are now depending on a limited supply of groceries from neighboring states, moving through light motor vehicles having an inter-state permit. The price of vegetables and fruits shot up in the market as the operating vehicles took huge fares.

Himachal Pradesh reportedly saw losses worth Rs 500 crore on the strike’s fourth day. A spokesman for Himachal’s BaddiBartoiwala-Nalagrath (BBN) belt, the biggest industrial cluster of the state, said if the strike is not called off soon, small industrial units will start suffering on financial grounds.

The strike has caused vegetable supplies to drop by almost 25 percent in Gujarat markets. The protesting transporters, however, did not shoulder any responsibility for the price rise in the state.

“We are not obstructing any vehicle from transporting any essential or non-essential goods. We are only asking them to cooperate and not forcing anyone,” Mukesh Dave, executive president of Akhil Gujarat Truck Transporters’ Association, told DNA.

Meanwhile, wide-ranging products worth over Rs 70 crore are stranded in Nagpur as primary means of transport is absent. Traders are worried as prices of perishable products are rising, and drivers and new load workers in the city are jobless.

Prices of rice and cereals have remained uniform due to adequate stock. In fact, in some cities, cereal has become cheaper.

Is resolution likely?

The government remains unmoved as of now, with the strike getting more support from local trade unions from all parts of India.

AIMTC core committee chairman Bal Malkit Singh told PTI, “We have urged the government to intervene, to find a tangible resolution of the issues. On the third day, too, there had been no reconciliatory talks or indication from the government to resolve the issues. The movement will only intensify.”

Source: Money Control

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