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State transport ministers to meet today

india Updated: Jan 12, 2009 13:43 IST
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The Centre has called a meeting of state transport ministers on Monday to deal with the situation arising out of the truckers' strike that entered the eighth day, hitting supplies of essential commodities in some regions.

"The strike is on, the solution lies completely in the hands of the government," All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) Vice-President Amolak Singh Bhatia told PTI on Monday.

The meeting will discuss the prevailing situation and steps required to ensure uninterrupted movement of essential commodities across the country, Union Transport Secretary Brahm Dutt said, adding that truckers in many states had already called off their strike.

AIMTC, however, disputed the claim stating that they would carry on with their stir till their demands are met.

Seeking prime minister's intervention to end the deadlock, AIMTC said truckers are ready to hold talks with the government provided they invite them in a "constitutional manner" and released their arrested leaders, including President Charan Singh Lohara.

The Delhi Police had arrested AIMTC President Charan Singh Lohara and Secretary S Venugopal on January 9 after the state government invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

Meanwhile, Haryana joined the group of states invoking ESMA. Besides, the other states which have imposed ESMA so far are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and Madhya Pradesh.

The strike has led to a rise in the prices of essential commodities up to 10-15 per cent in various parts of the country since the truckers' agitation began.

Dutt had said on Sunday that truckers in many parts of the country, including Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur and Hasan (in Karnataka) had withdrawn their strike, restoring normal supplies although inter-state movement of goods as well as transportation of industrial products were affected.