“It is high time the government steps in…and offers some practical solutions to redress our woes,” said Raman Khosla.
The losses due to the all-India transporters’ strike crossed Rs 2,000 crore in Maharashtra as lakhs of trucks stayed off the road for the third consecutive day on Sunday, said transporter associations. They pegged the nationwide losses due to the strike at Rs 10,000 crore. The Centre is likely to intervene on Monday and has called transporters for talks in a bid to end the crisis.
“It is high time the government steps in…and offers some practical solutions to redress our woes,” said Raman Khosla, president of the Maharashtra Rajya Truck, Tempo, Tankers, Bus Vahatuk Mahasangh. “The government should at least accept our demands in principle.”
He added that not a single truck transported manufacturing, industrial goods and other commodities on Sunday. “Trucks plying essentials like vegetables, fruits, medicine, milk are exempted from the strike,” Khosla said.
But a few leading transporter associations fear that if strike continues this week, even those supplying vegetables and fruits could ‘voluntarily’ stay off the road, which may escalate prices. “These truck owners have expressed their solidarity to the protest,” said Bal Malkit Singh of the All India Motor Transport Congress.
Transporters complained they have been reeling under the impact of demonetization, rise in input costs along with fuel prices and high cost of GST among other challenges. They have demanded reduction in diesel prices, quarterly review of fuel prices, a toll-free India for seamless movement of goods, need for transparency, and reduction in third-party insurance premium..
There were peaceful rallies and protests at toll plazas and ports across the country. “Transportation services to and from the port, refineries, harbours and movement from petrochemical units, white goods, FMCG, steel, coal, cement, granite, and other industrial units have been stopped,” Singh said. “Till date, there are no reconciliatory talks or indication from the government to resolve the issues with immediate tangible results. The movement will intensify in the days to come.”