Withdraw strike for now, wait till April 20, truckers' body tells lorries

Salem: The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) called upon lorry owners in Tamil Nadu to withdraw their indefinite strike since it did not serve any purpose now.  

Speaking to the press here on Saturday, Tamil Nadu Sand Lorry Owners Federation president, S. Rasamani, who was appointed as special invitee to the AIMTC, said, “The premium for vehicle insurance was hiked by nearly 50 per cent. Lorry owners are facing various problems such as mandatory speed control system, banning vehicles that have run for more than 15 years, increased charges for RTO procedures and the abnormal hike in tollgate fee. The AIMTC appeals to the Central government for solutions.”

According to him, the Central government authorities and ministers have promised to solve the issues before April 6. He said, “The AIMTC has accepted the assurance and announced a nationwide indefinite strike from April 20, if the promise was not fulfilled by then. However, Shanmugappa from Karnataka, who is general secretary of  South Zone Motor Transport Welfare Association announced a strike from on March 30 on his own.”

Rasamani pointed out that stopping lorries in south zone areas would not create any impact, since only the Central government has the authority to look into their demands. “Most lorries are being operated regularly. Lorry owners in Tamil Nadu should withdraw their strike and join the national level indefinite strike from April 20, if the demands are not fulfilled by then.” Namakkal Railway Goods Shed Lorry Owners Association, K. Nallathambi was also present at the press conference.

Facing govt’s apathy, say unhappy truck drivers; veggie prices hit

Protesting against their long-pending unmet demands including  rise in insurance premium, VAT rates, toll rates many lorry and truck owner federations are coming together for a strike by SIMTA (South Indian Motor Transport Association) on Saturday, the effect of which was seen trickling slowly on vegetable prices.

“Our main demand is of the insurance premium. Based on the meeting on April 3 in Hyderabad with members of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), we will make final decisions, till then it is an indefinite strike,” said S. Yuvaraj, President of TN Sand Lorry Owners Federation. “The mandate on speed governor installation should also be looked into.”

The direct impact was on the movement of vegetables into the city. “Daily we have about 400 trucks that bring in vegetables to the city. Today, there were only 180. The ones who came had risked themselves,” said V.R. Soundararajan of Koyambedu market.

He added that drivers of all modes of transport have been much neglected by the government and it is about time that their importance is realised. Prices of vegetables like beans, broad beans, peas, yam, shallots, and chillies have seen an increase.

“Peas were costing Rs 40 last week, today they are Rs 60. Similarly, beans have touched Rs  80 in wholesale,” he added. “The truckers community has been facing government’s apathy  for many years. The icing on the cake was the near 50% increased TPP charges related to commercial vehicles from April 1,” said Rajinder Singh, General Secretary, All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners’ Associations.

M.R. Kumaraswamy, President, State Lorry Owners’ Federation, said, “All over India, 30 lakh trucks will not be plying. Further decisions will be taken on Monday after IRDA members’ meet.”

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