New Delhi: Supplies of essential commodities may get disrupted in the coming days with transporters going on an indefinite strike from 5 January midnight after their talks with the government failed for the third time.
Transporters have demanded lowering diesel prices by Rs10 per litre, besides the withdrawal of service tax on truckers.
Transporters also want a moratorium on all instalments and waiver of interest on truck finance for at least six months.
“Although the All India Motor Transport Congress thanks the Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Brahm Dutt, for calling us for the third round of talks today, it is pitiable to note that nothing concrete came out from the talks and therefore, the proposed chakka jam from the midnight tonight is imminent,” AIMTC said in a statement.
Their other demands include providing for a free movement of trucks in the country without any national or state permit and setting minimum freight in view of high input costs.
Hauliers had earlier threatened to go on strike from 20 December, 2008, on the same issues but they, however, deferred doing so till 5 January because of the special situation caused by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November.
Truck operators have accused the government of reneging on its promise of not imposing service tax and said truckers have received recovery notices of above Rs600 crore.
Over 3,00,000 trucks would not ply on the roads in Rajasthan and at least 30 lakh employees in the truck business would take part in the agitation beginning on Monday, Ramprakash Choudhary, a spokesman of the Rajasthan Truck Operators’ Union, said in Jaipur.
Rajasthan was the probably the only state charging 28% VAT on diesel used in trucks for several years; the national average is 4%, he said.
Rajasthan should also stop “value tax” on the purchase of old trucks, he said, adding, against the second-hand value of trucks, the buyer would have to pay the same value tax as on a new one.
The state transport department should also stop the slip system against overloading trucks, and allow only the desired payload on each trip to check corruption, he said.
Booking at the transport office was stopped on Saturday in the state, he said.