NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: A section of truckers under goods vehicles umbrella body ACOGOA today proceeded on an indefinite nationwide strike, protesting hike in diesel prices and other issues.
According to the organisation, the strike had impact in West Bengal and Karnataka.
Another transporters apex body AIMTC, however, alleged that today's 'chakkajam' was orchestrated by a small section and had no impact and called for a nationwide strike from July 20 on the similar issues.
Both the bodies, All India Confederation of Goods Vehicles Owners Association (ACOGOA) and All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), claim membership of over 80 lakh truckers each.
"About 40 lakh goods vehicles owners, mostly truckers have joined strike nationwide to protest against rising diesel prices, dual taxation and hike in third party insurance premium," ACOGOA General Secretary R S Bhasin told PTI.
"The impact of the strike is more in West Bengal and Karnataka. We have exempted essential supplies from the strike as we do not want to cause inconvenience to the common masses," he said.
Bhasin said the truckers are a harassed lot as the government charges Rs 8 per litre on diesel as cess for road building, and another Rs 8 per litre as toll from multi-axle vehicles for using roads which was unfair.
He alleged that rising diesel prices have broken the back of truckers but the government has so far failed to pay attention to their plight.
He said the daily fluctuation in fuel prices is frustrating but the despite the body's drawing attention of Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi as also ministries of petroleum and natural gas, finance and shipping, nothing has been done in this regard.
AIMTC Core Committee Chairman Bal Malkit Singh said on the other hand that the strike was a flop show as it did not have support from AIMTC, which governs the majority of the transport fraternity.
"The vehicles are moving across the country uninterruptedly as major transport associations, unions and federations across the country have vowed support to AIMTC strike from July 20," he said.
Meanwhile, as per reports from West Bengal, a section of truckers have joined the strike, which the state government claimed has a marginal effect so far.
The Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators' Association general secretary Subhas Chandra Bose claimed that most of the truck owners in the state have joined the strike demanding lowering of diesel prices or bringing petro products under GST.
"Almost 80 per cent trucks in the state, including those operating in the North Bengal districts of Coochbehar, ALipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Malda and Murshidabad have gone off the roads," Bose said.
The state's Principal Secretary, Transport, Alapan Bandopadhayay said the strike has had a marginal effect in the state.
"The strike by the transporters' body will not have much of an effect on goods supply, including perishable food items, in the state," he said.
Bandopadhyay said the state government was in regular dialogue with the truck operators' organisation over various issues.
Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari is also in constant touch with the truck owners' associations, the principal secretary said.
The truckers have resorted to an indefinite strike from today demanding reduction in diesel prices or bringing petroleum products under GST, and protesting hike in third party insurance premium.