The two-day service break by the Lorry Owners Welfare Association demanding increased freight charges did not have a major impact on the city. With goods for the day already in, Kochi did not suffer from the protest on Monday.
“The lorry owners’ protests had no impact on our markets on Monday. Vegetable prices have not gone up and all the goods are available. If the strike continues, lorries coming through the Walayar check post from Coimbatore could be stuck at the check post and transportation of goods could be affected. A clear picture will be available only by Tuesday,” said officials of the Ernakulam Merchants Union.
Meanwhile, the Lorry Owners Welfare Association said the demand was to increase the freight charges by 30 percent.
“So far we have not called a strike. It is only a service-break for two days. Incoming services from other states have not been stopped. If our demands are not met during discussions, we will go ahead with the strike. We decided not to go on a sudden strike, as it would affect the markets,” said K K Hamsa of the Lorry Owners Welfare Association.
The association raised the demand of 30 percentage increase in the freight charges in view of the diesel price hike last week. Instead of a direct strike, the association decided to go for a two-day service break first. Based on the outcome of the discussions, the option to strike will be decided.
If a strike is called, lorries from Tamil Nadu and other neighbouring states with vegetables and groceries will cease to come.
It is learnt that lorry owners from neighbouring states have also expressed their willingness to support the strike.
Meanwhile, around 200 local lorry drivers from Kalamassery are not taking part in the service break as they have not received any official communication in this regard. “Currently it is only for the lorries with national permit. We will also take part in the service-break once we get a communication in this regard,” they said.