Truckers nationwide go on 2-day strike against GST, fuel hike
The body of transporters claimed nearly 10 million truck operators and other transporters remained off the roads but government authorities in several places such as Mumbai and Lucknow reported negligible impact.india Updated: Oct 09, 2017 17:58 IST
Hundreds of thousands of trucks went off the road on Monday as a part of a two-day nationwide strike to protest against rising diesel prices and the goods and services tax (GST).
The strike affected states such as West Bengal, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh but large-scale adverse effects on the prices of food or essential items were absent. Impact in trucking hubs of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra was minimal.
“Transporters all over the country are up in the arms against GST, diesel prices, harassment of truck operators and corruption on roads and toll policies,” said Bal Malkit Singh, chairman of the core committee of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).
The body claimed nearly 10 million truck operators and other transporters remained off the roads but government authorities in several places such as Mumbai and Lucknow reported negligible impact.
“This is our token strike, and if the government does not do the needful, we will call an indefinite strike after Diwali,” Singh added. About a million people, including drivers, cleaners, porters and their support staff were also participating.
In West Bengal, the Calcutta Goods Transport Association (CGTA) claimed nearly 60% of 800,000 trucks in the state were off roads but another major truckers body, the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators’ Association, didn’t participate in the strike.
“We gave relaxations to trucks carrying essential items like medicines, milk and perishable commodities like eggs, fruits and vegetables. Had the relaxation not been given, the impact of the strike would have been much more,” said CGTA president Prabhat Kumar Mittal.
In Madhya Pradesh’s Indore, the strike paralysed supplies to the vegetable and fruit hubs or mandis, sparking fears of a price spike. In Bhopal, the impact was mixed but observers said smaller towns were spared because farmers relied less on transporters. Government officials said they were still assessing the situation.
In Uttar Pradesh, around two million trucks continued normal operations as local officials said most state bodies weren’t participating.
“We don’t agree with the issues raised by the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) as it does not affect 95% of truck operators. Only bigger trucks, that too transporting cars and heavy items, are getting affected. Our trucks are operating as usual,” said Billu Tandon, general secretary of UP Truck Operators’ Federation.
“Coming under GST cannot be termed as disruptive. It will benefit small truck operators,” he added.
The strike halted goods movement across Karnataka as all trucks in the state stopped plying, AIMTC south zone general secretary GR Shanmugappa said.
In Mumbai, however, the strike generated a poor response as most trucks remained on the road.
(with inputs from Kolkata, Lucknow, Bhopal, Mumbai and agencies)