South India worst hit as truckers’ strike enters day two
South India was the most affected as the indefinite strike called by truck owners to protest mainly against the proposed 50% hike in the third party insurance premium entered the second day on Sunday.
“Lorries are not going to southern states from other parts of the country. Trucks which have national permit have been diverted.. .All south India bound trucks and lorries have stopped. And there is no movement from south India also,” All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) president SK Mittal said.
AIMTC is the apex body of truck operators in the country.
He said the response from other parts of the country was also “good”.
Mittal claimed the situation could turn for the worse as LPG gas carriers and tankers are set to join the strike from Monday.
All India Confederation of Goods Vehicles Owners’ Association (ACOGOA) president Channa Reddy said apart from south India, the strike had evoked a “great response” from the eastern states as well.
“The strike is continuing. There is virtually no truck movement to and from south India. In North India also truck movement is paralysed because of this,” Reddy said.
The South India Motor Transport Association and South Zone Motor Transporters’ Welfare Association (SZMTWA) had gone on the indefinite strike from Thursday and All India Confederation of Goods Vehicles Owners’ Association (ACOGOA) joined the protests from Saturday.
In Maharashtra, the effect was “partial”.
In a bid to resolve the stand-off, the strikers will meet the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) chairman on Monday, and take a decision on whether to continue with the agitation based on the discussions with the regulator.
“Officials of the ministries of road transport, highways and finance will also be present at the Hyderabad meeting on Monday,” said Mittal.
The third party premium for automobiles is decided by IRDAI while all other premium rates are decided by the insurers - private and government-owned. Fleet owners normally go only for third party policies and take care of the damages to vehicles on their own.
Truck owners are also demanding reinstatement of tariff advisory committee and protesting against fines proposed in the Motor Vehicles Act amendment.
Mittal said truckers have been demanding category wise real time data from the insurance regulator but this has not been provided so far.
“Lorries whose insurance premium is due, are noo renewing it, as they are opposed to the sharp and arbitrary increase in the premium,” he said.
In West Bengal, rows of trucks were stranded at various points, across the state. There was no loading and unloading of goods. There were fears that the strike could lead to severe shortage of fish, vegetables and fruits, triggering a price increase.
According to Mittal, the total number of trucks in India is around 94 lakhs.