HYDERABAD: City markets are buzzing with activity and it is business as usual for all traders even as the lorry drivers strike enters the third day on Saturday. Lorry drivers plying essential commodities are now mulling joining the strike from Monday.
But truck drivers who were at the markets have no option but wait out the strike or turn back home empty handed which is not a profitable option. “The lorry strike has not affected my business,” said Abid Hussain, a 32-year-old trader at Rythu Bazaar, Erragadda. “I have one truck load waiting to be unloaded and the stocks will last me till the strike is over,” he added.
Abid gets his stock of onions from Solapur. “There are about 2.5 lakh vehicles taking part in the strike, only 10 per cent of the vehicles are not taking part as they are catering to essential commodities,” said G Durga Prasad, general secretary, Telangana Lorry Owners Association. The strike will go on till our demands are met, he added.
Mohammad Illiyas has been a lorry driver for over 25 years. He had come to Kothapur market at Malakpet with onions. It is routine for him to unload the goods at the market, restock with goods meant for Maharashtra. But with the ongoing strike, he has decided to stay put in Hyderabad as an empty return journey does not make economic sense.
“Most drivers take a return trip to Karnataka where they load cement or stones before heading back to Solapur, but am unable to do that as my truck can’t handle that type of load,” says Illiyas.
But Illyas is in solidarity with the strike and doesn’t mind the interim losses he is facing, “The Rs 20,000 for insurance premium by itself is very hard for most of us truck owners to pay but they have no hiked it to Rs 40,000. They say either pay up or sell your vehicle to scrap. I don’t have that kind of money.”
For every trip the drivers make, they have to shell out a minimum of Rs 2,000 on maintenance alone.
“I bought my truck for Rs 3 lakh two years ago. Be it a new vehicle or old, something breaks now and then. The spare parts don’t come cheap,” says Illiyas.