The stalemate between the government and truckers continued for the sixth day on Saturday despite the arrest of two top leaders of All India Motor Transport Congress.
"We are incurring heavy losses in running our business hence strike will continues until the government gives us some solutions, AIMTC Vice-President Amolak Singh Bhatia said. While Transport Minister T R Baalu had announced to act tough against the truckers, the unrelenting transporters said that 'coercive' measures will not deter them and the strike would continue till the time their demands are fulfilled.
"The government is committed to take every necessary steps to ensure smooth supplies...We have advised states to transport essential commodities so that the common man does not suffer," the minister said on Friday. The AIMTC received a setback on Friday after the arrest of its President Charan Singh Lohara and Secretary S Venugopal along with 30 other leaders by the Delhi police under the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA). In a counter offensive, the truckers had announced to intensify their stir. "There shall be no talks until the arrested leaders are unconditionally released without any cases against them," AIMTC had said on Friday. The government had already announced its plans to press 15-20 lakh vehicles and impounding of trucks to ensure supply of essential commodities, especially food stock. Home Minister P Chidambaram, who had described the strike as "against the interest of people", said the Centre was in touch with the states to evolve a solution as many of the demands of the truckers pertained to the states only.