Officials review truckers strike as it enters 6th day

Officials review truckers strike as it enters 6th day
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First Published: Sat, Jan 10 2009. 12 00 PM IST
Updated: Sat, Jan 10 2009. 12 00 PM IST
New Delhi: The cabinet secretary on Saturday met senior officials to review the situation emanating from the nationwide truckers strike that entered the sixth day and showed no signs of ending soon.
The meeting called by K M Chandrasekhar was attended by secretaries of Ministry of Road and Surface Transport, Defence, Railways, I&B and Petroleum, official sources said, adding that various options to deal with the situation were discussed.
Besides, deputy national security advisor and IB officials were present at the meeting.
The review meeting comes in the wake of continued stand-off between transporters and the government even as one more state Madhya Pradesh invoked ESMA against the strikers.
Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Goa invoked ESMA earlier this week.
The Centre has already announced plans to run 15-20 lakh vehicles in the next few days for uninterrupted supply of essential commodities. These would be arranged by impounding trucks and allowing other private vehicles for transportation of commodities without permit.
Transporters, on the other hand, have said they will not negotiate with the government until AIMTC members arrested on Friday are released.
“We will intensify our stir. There is no question of calling off our strike. There shall be no talks until the arrested leaders are unconditionally released without any cases against them,” an AIMTC top brass said.
The stalemate between the government and truckers continued for the sixth day on Saturday despite the arrest of two top leaders of All India Motor Transport Congress.
“We are incurring heavy losses in running our business hence strike will continue until the government gives us some solutions,” AIMTC vice-president Amolak Singh Bhatia said.
While Transport Minister T R Baalu had announced to act tough against the truckers, the unrelenting transporters said that ‘coercive´measures will not deter them and the strike would continue till the time their demands are fulfilled.
“The government is committed to take every necessary steps to ensure smooth supplies...We have advised states to transport essential commodities so that the common man does not suffer,” the minister said on Friday.
The AIMTC received a setback on Friday after the arrest of its president Charan Singh Lohara and secretary S Venugopal along with 30 other leaders by the Delhi police under the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA).
Home minister P Chidambaram, who had described the strike as “against the interest of people”, said the Centre was in touch with the states to evolve a solution as many of the demands of the truckers pertained to the states only.
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First Published: Sat, Jan 10 2009. 12 00 PM IST