CHENNAI: As truck operators across the country launched their nationwide indefinite strike from Friday morning to pressing for their key demands, the sector is likely to suffer a business loss of about `4,000 crore per day due to the suspension of operations.
The strike followed a call given by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) demanding reduction in diesel prices and quarterly revision instead of the current daily revision, ensuring seamless movement of trucks by revising road toll collection, transparency and reduction in third-party insurance premium through exemption of GST, abolition of TDS, rationalisation of presumptive income, national permit for buses and tourist vehicles and abolition of direct port delivery tendering system and streamlining port congestion.
Leaders of AIMTC claimed about 75 per cent of 93 lakh goods vehicles in India joined the stir. “About 75 per cent of the goods vehicles have stayed off the road on the first day itself,” chairman of AIMTC Kultaran Singh Atwal told Express on Friday. He hoped the rest of the fleet would join by Saturday.
The truckers seem to be firm in continuing the stir until their demands are fulfilled as the sector is hit hard by financial stress.
According to Naveen Kumar Gupta, general secretary, AIMTC, “About 15 crore people are engaged in truck transport sector directly and indirectly. For long, we have been suffering and demanding substantial action to address our problems. We want permanent measures to end harassment and corruption on the road and ensure seamless movement”, he said.
Although the loss to the government through non-collection of tax cannot be calculated, the operators end up in suffering a loss of 4,000 crores per day. “The loss to the truck operators due to the strike is estimated to be around 4,000 crore per day,” said Bal Malkit Singh, chairman of AIMTC’s core committee.
In Tamil Nadu, president of State Federation of Lorry Owners Associations-Tamil Nadu (SFLOA-TN) MR Kumarasamy said that about 80 per cent of the lorries were off the road on the first day of the stir and the rest would join in a few days as they had to offload the consignments moved already.
“We have completely suspended loading on Friday. Only the vehicles already on the trip are moving to offload the goods,” he said. Industry sources said the impact of the indefinite strike by truck operators will be realised in three days as the existing stock of goods will run out.
A section of operators led by R Sugumar, president and Murugan, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation (TNLOF) complained of forcible suspension of services in certain places. They visited Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to submit a memorandum in this regard.“We have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister complaining that truck drivers are forced to go off road in many places. He assured us that the issue will be looked into,” he said.
TNSTC steps in
The Tamil Nadu transport department has initiated steps to ensure supply of essential goods. “We have already written to district Collectors and regional heads to take action for smooth supply of essential goods,” C Samayamoorthy, Transport Commissioner told Express