Small but back-to-back increases in diesel prices within a month has pushed goods' transporters to a corner.
Transporters rue that the hikes in diesel prices - a 45-paisa increase on Friday and a similar rise in January - had pushed up transportation cost, but as the hikes were not too big, they could not increase freight charges, resulting in losses to them.
Punjab State Goods Transport Association former general secretary Sarabjit Singh said they were already facing the brunt of the slump in the market. “Now, Friday's hike will only add to our losses,” he said.
“In most cases, transporters in their agreements have committed that they will not raise transportation charges until there is a hike in diesel prices up to a certain level,” he added.
“This has led to transporters suffering losses. Bigger transportation firms are the worst hit,” he added, terming the small hike as a “slow poison for the goods transport industry”.
After Friday's hike, a transporter will have to shed Rs. 500 to 600 more on one trip to Mumbai or Kolkata, while transportation to other cities also will raise the total expenditure.
Ludhiana Transporters Welfare Association chairman Prithvi Raj Sharma aired similar sentiments: “In case a transporter talks of increasing tariff, the client asks them not to do so, saying that the price rise was small and there was no need of raising the charges.”
Ludhiana Transporters Welfare Association general secretary Mohan Singh said another hike would result in transporters raising charges. “We will be left with no other option,” he added.