VIJAYAWADA: Lorry owners have stopped their operations in the State on Thursday in response to the strike call given by the South Zone Motor Transporters Welfare Association opposing the hike in premium of third-party insurance for commercial vehicles, scrapping of 15-year-old vehicles and collection of toll.
The Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners Association (APLOA) has stopped plying lorries and staged a protest in the city on Thursday demanding the Union government to respond to their demands. “Around 4 lakh transport vehicles in the State have stopped loading and unloading operations and joined the strike,” said APLOA general secretary YV Eswara Rao. He stated that they had exempted emergency services like milk and water tankers from the strike. “We will intensify our strike if the government neglects our demands,” he said.
Contrary to expectations, the lorry strike did not have any remarkable impact on the economy on the first day of the indefinite strike across the State. There was no effect on the prices of perishable goods such as vegetables and essential commodities. Oil filling station staff in Vijayawada and Guntur said they would fill fuel till the existing stocks last.
When contacted, M Ramesh Babu, estate officer of Rythu Bazar in Patamata, said there was no problem in procuring vegetables on Thursday. “Most of the vegetables come here in small trucks and autos which are not participating in the strike. Since Friday is a holiday for the market, there might be some problem on Saturday, if the strike continues. Even then, only a few vegetables like carrot, beetroot and potato which are transported by lorries will get dearer,” he said.
“The lorry delivered vegetables in the morning as usual on Thursday. Most of us in the vegetable market are unaware of the strike. We have to wait and see how things will turn out on Friday. If the vehicle does not turn up, there might be a problem,” said V Veerababu, a vegetable vendor at Kaleswara Rao Market in the city.
Speaking to TNIE, Andhra Pradesh Federation of Petroleum Dealers (APFPD) president R Gopala Krishna made it clear that petrol dealers are not participating in the indefinite strike and it is only limited to transport operators. Only 2 per cent of petrol tankers operated in the State on Thursday and the total operation will be stopped from April 1.
“Though there will be no impact on diesel sales, two-wheelers might face a harrowing time from Friday with insufficient stock of petrol at the filling stations. The indefinite strike of transport operators will be a great loss to the government rather than the operators,” he said.