Fearing a further 'precipitation' of situation due to the ongoing strike by truckers, Transport Minister TR Baalu on Saturday said his ministry did not want to 'act tough', while asking the transporters to come for negotiations.
"We don't want to act tough, we don't want to precipitate the issue further. Transporters are the stakeholders of the ministry. I'm only requesting to come forward (for talks)," Baalu told reporters when asked why the ministry was acting soft on the strikers unlike the tough stand taken by Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry against oil PSU officers who had to called off their stir.
He also denied making any recommendation from his ministry to the Home Ministry to deal with the situation. The striking transporters, under the aegis of the All India Motors Transport Congress (AIMTC), had refused to come for talks asking for the release of their arrested members, including President Charan Singh Lohara and Secretary S Venugopal, besides pressing for their demands.
"Only a handful of people have been arrested. Other members are there who can come and meet me," Baalu said. The minister's statement comes a day after the Centre had asked states to act firm against the transporters and invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and allow private vehicles without permits to carry essential items.