New Delhi: Cracking the whip against striking transporters, as many as five states have declared the stir illegal and invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities.
Meanwhile, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has called an emergency meeting of its representatives on Friday, even as it continues to canvass for political support, meeting BJP’s top brass, including its president Rajnath Singh.
A senior Transport Ministry official said that with truckers adamant to continue their strike, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have invoked ESMA to maintain smooth supplies of essential commodities, while Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi governments have already done the same.
The agitation called by AIMTC and All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) -- claiming to command over 60 lakh trucks across the country -- took a political turn on Wednesday with CPI(M) asking the Centre to meet the truckers’ demands.
“This morning, we have met Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj and they have shown strong sympathy towards our movement. Both have assured us of every possible support,” AITMC Executive Committee member Ramesh Agarwal said.
Transporters on Thursday said with the government toughening its stand and refusing to meet their demands, they would surrender about 1,200 truck permits in the national capital.
While about 700 permits have been collected at Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar in Delhi, about 500 permits have been submitted by the UP Border Transport Association to AIMTC for surrendering the same to the government.
“It is meaningless to run a business in losses, so we have decided to surrender our permits. Already about 700 permits have been collected in Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar in Delhi and we are planning to give them back to the government,” All India Motor Transport Congress Managing Committee member Kultaran Singh Atwal said.
He said the government has yet to respond to their demands and until any communication is received, the strike would continue.