Truckers' body threatens strike from July 1

Roudra Bhattacharya Mumbai | Updated on June 25, 2011

Mr G. R. Shanmugappa.   -  The Hindu

Commercial goods transport across the country may come to a grinding halt on July 1, if threats of a possible strike from the industry come through.

One of the two main truckers' associations, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has said that it may call for a nation-wide strike from next month against the increase in diesel prices. It will take a decision after its meeting in New Delhi on June 27. The industry body will also meet Government officials later on the same day for discussions.

“The cost per vehicle per day will now rise by Rs 500, but we will not be able to increase our rentals by the same amount as the client may not be willing to pay. Compounded by other burdens like higher tyre prices, toll rates and insurance, freight rates will likely go up by seven per cent,” Mr G.R. Shanmugappa, President, AIMTC, told Business Line.

In Karnataka, it said that a strike is most imminent than in the rest of the country. This is because the State has the highest taxation component on fuel in the country at 24 per cent, which makes it tough for truckers to refuel.

He added that the association would ideally look for a 9-10 per cent increase in rentals to account for the overall input cost increase, though this may not be possible on all routes as rentals in the present season are down. Long haul trucks consume about 120-150 litres of diesel every day, while fuel constitutes over 70 per cent of the operating costs.

No Consensus

However, there seems to be a lack of consensus among the truckers' ranks with the other main industry body, All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners' Association (ACOGOA), opposing the strike. The organisation feels that a strike would just look to “blackmailing the Government” and may not be in the truckers' best interests.

“Diesel price is an important component of our operating costs. A strike is not a solution, instead we want the States to insure a minimum freight rate for truckers that will be indexed against the diesel prices. This is already provided by a law enacted in 1988, but not duly followed. This will safeguard truckers against unnecessary losses and prevent unhealthy competition,” said Mr Chittaranjan Das, Secretary General, ACOGOA.


Published on June 25, 2011

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