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South reels from lorry strike

The indefinite nationwide lorry strike has affected businesses and lives of everyone involved directly and indirectly.

Published: 24th July 2018 04:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th July 2018 04:28 AM   |  A+A-

Daily wage labourers, like the one seen here in Vanasthalipuram, Hyderabad, are the worst affected by this strike | R Satish Babu

Express News Service

HYDERABAD, KOLAR: Whether it’s soaring costs for non-perishable items like sand, cement and gravel, or falling prices of fruits and vegetables, everyday life is being affected due to the ongoing lorry strike in the country.

Everyone, directly or indirectly involved in the lorry business, has been affected by the strike. For instance, owners employ two drivers and a cleaner per lorry. This is direct employment. But, there are also mechanics, electricians, automobile shop workers, weighbridge operators, and other labourers, who are a part of this ecosystem, who are adversely affected.

“A functional lorry feeds more than 10 families. The government does not seem to take any interest in knowing the plight of the persons being affected in the informal sector,” says N Bhaskar Reddy, president of Telangana lorry owners’ association.

Price of sand — the most essential commodity in construction activities — has increased by a whopping 70-100%. On Monday, sand was being sold at popular lorry yards in city outskirts for a massive `2,500 to `3,400 a tonne. Just a fortnight ago, the prices were less than half at `1,200 for the same quantity. Of the 2 lakh-odd lorries in the State, nearly 1.5 lakh are grounded.

The ones mainly hit by the strike are builders scurrying to meet deadlines. Their operational costs have risen. But why haven’t they stopped construction? “The losses would be much more if we halted construction. Overall costs of a delayed project shoots up,” claims builder Haroon Bin Abdullah. Apart from sand, supply of cement and gravel, too, has taken a hit.

The ongoing indefinite nationwide strike by lorry operators has hit prices of vegetables, particularly tomato, which is cultivated in huge quantities in Kolar. Growers of the quickly perishing crop are a worried lot as they are not able to shift their produce to markets, especially in other states. According to C M R Harish, a ‘mandi’ merchant, four days ago a crate (15 kg) of tomatoes fetched `450-500 in the district Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard, which is second biggest market in Asia. On Monday that figure came down to `180-200. “Every day, about 4,500 tonnes of tomato is transported to Gujarat, Maharashtra, Nasik, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai,” said Harish.

Meanwhile in Hyderabad, petroleum tankers are participating in a one-day strike on July 24 for 24 hours.  Supply of petroleum products like petrol, diesel, kerosene, and fuel oil will be cut to the distribution channels like fuel stations. However, people need not panic as fuel stations usually have a three to a five-day reserve of petrol and diesel.    

The call for the strike is given by the Telangana petroleum tank trucks owner’s association in support of the ongoing lorry owner’s strike that started on July 20. The State will witness close to 3,000 fuel tankers bunking to ply fuel to the fuel stations across the State.

Anna Bhagya foodgrain in Mysuru gets 4 wheels

Despite the ongoing strike by truckers, local lorry owners have agreed to shift 13,000 metric tonnes of foodgrain, including rice and wheat, meant to be supplied to BPL card holders under Anna Bhagya scheme. This came after former minister Tanveer Sait held a meeting with Lorry Owners Association president Kodandaram and appealed to him that the strike will badly affect the supply of ration in the district. After the meeting, the lorry owners decided to shift 600 loads of foodgrain to godowns.

(With inputs from Mysuru and Hyderabad)

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