The indefinite strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) is likely to intensify from Monday with trucks carrying essential commodities like milk, medicines, fruits and vegetables too joining the protest. The movement of essential goods has not suffered till now, but wholesalers and vegetable dealers said that prices could go up from Monday and there could be shortages if the truckers intensify their strike.
“The strike will start affecting daily life in the coming days as shortfall of various items will begin. The government has so far not shown any signs of accepting our demands. We will intensify our agitation from Monday,” said truck operator Amrik Singh.
The strike called by the AIMTC, which claims to represent owners of about 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos, entered its fourth day on Sunday.
Gurgaon Vegetable Market Union Association president Inder Singh said that vegetables are booked by transporters two days in advance.
“If the truckers carrying essential items also join the strike there would be a gradual reduction in supply and there could be around 10% shortage from Monday,” he added. He also said that while the arrival of food items has slowed down in Delhi’s Azadpur market, it was stable in Gurgaon. However, the situation could deteriorate in the coming days, he added.
A factor working in favour of Gurgaon is the large number of local farmers from the district supplying vegetables to the city, which is likely to keep prices under some control. Other parts of Haryana have it worse with the prices of onions and tomatoes in particular rising by almost 40%.
Truck operators in Punjab and Haryana vowed to intensify their agitation from Monday as the government has failed to meet their demands such as scrapping the toll system. Daman Diwan, general secretary of Gurgaon-based Automobile Carriers Welfare Association, said that transporters are also suffering heavily because of the strike, but will back down only after their demands are considered positively.
The AIMTC is demanding scrapping of the toll system, claiming that toll barriers have become places for corruption, harassment and extortion. The government has, however, ruled out scrapping of toll.