Bengaluru, Sept 30: Within less than a week, Karnataka is all set to witness yet another bandh on Thursday, Oct 1, as part of the nationwide transport strike.
According to reports, over 93 lakh trucks in the country will remain off the roads from 6 am onwards, demanding the removal of toll barriers from national highways for seamless movement.
Transporters body All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Wednesday, Sept 29, said they are not ready to accept the e-tolling proposal of the government and remains adamant to proceed on chakka jam (indefinite nationwide strike) beginning October 1.
AIMTC has demanded the removal of 373 toll plazas on highways across the country. They have also demanded immediate stop on Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) from the transport sector.
AIMTC has termed toll barriers as "dens of corruption, harassment and extortion by the toll collectors".
AIMTC said it is not against toll, but the toll collection system, and has demanded barrier-free movement of vehicles as well as one-time collection of taxes.
"Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that toll tax cannot be removed and that they will complete e-tolling in next six months... e-tolling project of the government is a failed concept... even their pilot project has failed. The partnering banks viz. ICICI and Axis Bank too has distanced itself from the project," AIMTC said.
Body's president Bhim Wadhwa said that a delegation of transporters had met Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber but there was no outcome and the body would proceed on strike.
"We have always maintained that the road transport fraternity is not against toll revenue and ready to pay more in annual or one-time payment but want barrier-free roads," he said.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners Association and Agents Association, and its parent organisation in Delhi have decided not to participate in the nationwide agitation.
On the other hand, Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) said AIMTC's suggestion to have fixed annual toll was not rational.
"AIMTC suggestion to have fixed annual toll fee of Rs 30,000 for a truck on national permit and Rs 10,000 for intrastate permit vehicle needs examination as proposal is highly flawed and irrational," Coordinator IFTRT SP Singh said.
Meanwhile, All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) said it strongly supported the cause of the AIMTC and urged the government to expeditiously resolve the issue. AITWA said it was against any move like 'Chakka Jam' but this is the last resort and the government should resolve it.
(With agency inputs)