VIJAYAWADA: The lorry owners’ indefinite strike, which entered the second day on Saturday has reportedly not left any impact either on the prices of commodities, such as rice, vegetables and pulses or their availability in the State. However, several traders have expressed their apprehension that the situation may become worse for the common man after Monday if the lorry owners continued with their strike.As many as four lakh lorries in the State went off the roads from Friday to fulfil their major demands, which include reduction in fuel prices, third-party premium levied by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) and transparency in toll pricing system and to ‘stop’ the time ‘wasted’ in toll plazas. On an average, the lorry operators reportedly generate a revenue of `30 crore per day - in form of taxes paid - for the State government.
With the strike completing its second day the lorry operators estimated that the State government had incurred a loss of around `60 crore. However, the lorry operators, who were participating in the strike under the aegis of Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners’ Association (APLOA) had exempted essential commodities, such as milk, medicines, water and petrol from the purview of the strike. However, the association is reportedly contemplating to stall the supply of these essential commodities from Tuesday for pressuring the government to accept the demands of the strikers.
In the Krishna district alone 40,000 lorry operators are participating in the indefinite strike. Due to these hundreds of lorries got stranded on the roads and drivers were seen preparing food during their leisure time. Many of them cried foul of the Central government for ignoring the welfare of the transport sector, which was reeling under severe crisis, due to rising diesel price. Meanwhile, the ever-busy wholesale commercial complex at Gollapudi in Vijayawada wore a deserted look on Saturday.
With the strike continuing, around 600 daily wage labourers, hamalis and workers, dependent on the market, are badly affected due to lack of work related to loading and unloading of stocks form the lorries.
However, they got some respite and even earned meagre wages, as autorickshaws designed to transport goods were in operation, carrying essential commodities to the city market from the neighbouring districts.
Speaking to TNIE on Saturday, Vijayawada Wholesale Commercial Complex Members Welfare Society general secretary B Suryanarayana Murthy said that the market recorded a turnover between `60 lakh and one crore per day, during the normal days. With the lorry operators’ strike beginning from Friday, the market witnessed a 30 per cent dip in business and thereby turnover. Hundreds of lorries from Maharashtra and Karnataka got stranded on the roads and markets were yet to receive the stocks of onion and tamarind, he said. “The market has enough stock of essential commodities, which can satisfy the demand for a week; however, the prices will go up if the strike continues for more than 10 days,’’ Suryanarayana Murthy said.