New Delhi: Truckers returned to the roads after calling off their strike early on Friday after the government conceded their demands including a rollback of toll increases, union leaders and government officials said.
The Centre agreed to reverse increases effected across eight toll plazas— all of them on publicly financed highways— after the All India Motor Transport Congress, or AIMTC, which represents some 4.8 million truckers, went on strike Wednesday. The government also agreed not to raise tolls for one year.
The government and the AIMTC reached an agreement before dawn on Friday, and union leader Gurinder Pal Singh said trucks had already returned to the roads. “The demands which the truckers were asking for have been met,” Singh said. “We are very happy with the decision taken by government officials.”
The transportation ministry confirmed the agreement, pledging not to increase toll taxes on national highways for at least a year, according to a ministry statement. Singh said government officials promised to consider their other principal demand, a lower levy on diesel.
With 70% of goods transported by trucks, a prolonged strike could have had serious implications for the economy, especially inflation.
The ministry of shipping and road transport has agreed to set up a committee to look into user-fee rates for highways. A separate committee will also be set up to examine the service delivery standards on highways across the country, a National Highways Authority of India, or NHAI, official said, asking not to be named. The rollback would cost the government Rs96 crore in revenues this year, the official added.
Tolls for publicly financed highways are tied to length of the road and are typically reviewed once in five years while those for privately financed roads are linked to the wholesale price index and reviewed every year.
(AP contributed to this story.)
SBI hikes interest rates on home loans
Mumbai: State Bank of India, country’s largest lender, on Friday increased the floating interest rates on its home loans by 50 basis points in tune with its hike in the prime lending rate last month.
After the hike, effective 26 June, a loan of Rs30 lakh for a five-year maturity will now bear an interest rate of 10.50% against 10% earlier. Equated monthly instalments on this particular loan will go up to Rs2150 against Rs2125 earlier. Loans taken on a fixed interest rate basis remain unchanged at 12.75%. Anup Roy