On Saturday, Jan 10 Baalu had a meeting with the representatives of the All India Federation of Goods Vehicle Owner Association and expressed govt's readiness to negotiate with truck operators who have been on a strike since Monday, Jan 5.
"The truck operators have assured full cooperation to the govt of India. Whatever the issues that have been with the govt of India for sometime have been sorted out during 2008 itself. Any further discussion they want to have with government of India, we are ready to have a dialogue at any point of time," said Baalu.
Talking to the media, Baalu announced that the strike has had negligible effect so far and all the essential commodities are being transported. He added that the State Governments have been advised to see that the necessary commodities are transported to meet the needs of people without any disruption.
He further added that vehicles without permit could also be operated if need be. Calling the demands 'irrelevant', Baalu said that he had already discussed the matter with All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) in July 2008 and all the demands have been considered then.
"In July 2008, I have personally discussed the matter with all the AIMTC people. We considered all their demands. It is in the agreement also. I do not know why all of a sudden without any provocation they have gone for this strike," he added.
In view of the truckers' strike, five state governments have invoked the Essential Services maintenance Act (ESMA) Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The AIMTC represents around six million trucks across the country.&13;