Transport unions across the country have announced an indefinite strike from Friday over a slew of demands, including slashing diesel prices and highway tolls. The nation-wide strike by truckers is likely to affect supplies of essential items – vegetables, milk.
The strike has been called by the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which calls itself the apex body of transporters in the country, and supported by other transport organisation. Over 93 lakh truckers and around 50 lakh buses, tourist taxi and cab operators are part AIMTC.
The School Bus and Company Bus Owners Association of Maharashtra has also extended its support to the transport strike. The association runs around 8,000 buses in Mumbai and 40,000 buses across the state.
Bal Malkit Singh, chairman of the All-India Motor Transport Congress core committee, said that truckers will stop rolling from 6 am on Friday and pegged the likely daily loss at Rs 4,000 crore for them.
Truckers key demands include reduction in Central and state taxes by getting diesel under the GST so that price of the deregulated commodity can be reduced, he said.
Singh said truckers are also against the “flawed and non-transparent” toll collection system that favours road concessioners, and alleged that the time and fuel loss goes up to Rs 1.5 trillion annually on account of it. Truckers are also miffed at high insurance premium and want a reduction in third-party premium, exemption on third- party premium from GST, he said.
Apart from this, they are also pressing for exemptions and abolitions in direct taxes, national permits for all buses and trucks and also doing away with the direct port delivery tendering system, he said.
When contacted, an official close to Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s office said during the meeting, transporters were told that instant solutions cannot be found to their demands but assured them the government is looking at all the demands sensitively.
(With inputs from PTI)