Day 4 of truckers strike: Stalemate on, supplies hit

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New Delhi, Oct 4: Truckers' strike entered the fourth day on Sunday hitting supply of goods in various parts of the country as talks between government and transporters failed yesterday.

The nationwide strike has been called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) which is demanding scrapping of the present toll system.

[Nationwide bandh: AIMTC against e-tolling, demands barrier-free movement of vehicles]

strike

Another truckers body AITWA has decided to keep away from the strike.

"We will continue our strike till a practical solution is found for a toll barrier-free India. We will be meeting Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari tomorrow. Based on the solution he offers, we will call the meeting of our executive committee to decide on whether to continue the strike or not," AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa told PTI.

AIMTC has also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to the issue and had also met Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhiber yesterday, he said. The two sides failed to resolve the issue.

The government is offering electronic-toll collection system in the entire country by December, but alleged that the solution is not practical as government's pilot project in this regard could not meet with success.

Apart from demanding scrapping of the present toll collection system, which AIMTC says is a tool of harassment for truckers, it is seeking a one-time payment of taxes and simplification of TDS procedure. "Government cannot scrap toll as half of about 325 toll booths pertain to private parties which may seek huge claims from the government which can run to Rs 2-3 lakh crore," Gadkari said.

He has appealed transporters to call off the strike promising e-tolling system pan-India by December for seamless flow of traffic. However, truckers refused, terming the offer as an impractical solution.

Supply of goods to various parts of the country continued to be impacted. Supply of essential goods such as milk, vegetables and medicines has been kept out of the purview of the indefinite strike called by AIMTC.

AIMTC said the cumulative loss to the truckers in four days was estimated at about Rs 6,000 crore while the loss to the government could be more than Rs 40,000 crore. 

AIMTC claims to have 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos across the country under its fold.

According to reports from states including Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, goods supply remained impacted.

Another body, Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) said AIMTC's suggestion to fix annual toll is not rational.

It said as per information gathered from various Transport Centers across the country, more than 50 per cent of long haulage truckers have resumed their operations on highways.

PTI

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