Prices soar, essential stocks pile up
As about 4.5 lakh trucks and lorries including oil tankers were off the roads in Tamil Nadu today, the first day of the all-India motor transporters' strike. MR Venkatesh reports.india Updated: Jan 05, 2009 18:01 IST
As about 4.5 lakh trucks and lorries including oil tankers were off the roads in Tamil Nadu on Monday, the first day of the all-India motor transporters' strikeAs about 4.5 lakh trucks and lorries including oil tankers were off the roads in Tamil Nadu today, the first day of the all-India motor transporters' strike demanding reduction in diesel prices among others, trade and industry have put the day’s commercial losses at over Rs.400 crores in just one day in the State.
Vegetable prices soared across the board at the main Koyembedu wholesale market on the outskirts of the city since the wee hours this morning, despite double the number of trucks reaching Chennai before the strike came into effect from midnight last night, trade sources told HT in Chennai.
"Usually we get about 500 trucks per day carrying vegetables from different States including neighbouring Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but due to the strike the Koyembedu market received nearly 1000 trucks this morning with huge stocks of vegetables being dumped in the market,” sources said.
Traders too fearing a prolonged strike jacked up vegetable prices and everything was sold out despite the oversupply as retailers wanted to stock as much as they could for the next week or so, sources pointed out. Tomatoes for instance shot up from Rs.12 per kg to Rs.15 per kg, onions from Rs.20 to Rs.25, potatoes from Rs.10 to Rs.12 and 'bindi' from Rs.22 per kg to Rs.24 per kg, sources said, adding, “we sold almost everything within a couple of hours of their arrivals."
But not all movable commodities were as lucky as vegetables whose transporters took advantage of the night hours last night. In the poultry hub of Namakkal in Western Tamil Nadu, nearly 400 km from Chennai, sources said three crore eggs had piled up due to the truckers strike. Eggs could not be moved to Kerala and other neighbouring States from in Chennai on Monday.
In Coimbatore district, movement of items like textile machinery and tea from the hilly district of Niligiris came to a standstill, sources said. Bundles of handloom cloth from districts like Madurai down South and match-sticks from Sivakasi are also piling up, while movement of fish and other traditional items from Kerala to Tamil Nadu were also hit. In effect, the revenue loss by a conservative estimate due to the truckers strike on day one in Tamil Nadu has been placed at over Rs.400 Crores. Distribution of cooking gas is also expected to be hampered in the next few days.