Truckers strike enters 5th day; deadlock continues
New Delhi: Transporters' nationwide strike entered its fifth day today amid a continued deadlock between the agitating apex truckers body AIMTC and the government, affecting movement of goods in various parts of the country.
Representatives of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which is demanding scrapping of the present toll system, were to meet Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari later in the evening today to find a solution.
"We will be meeting Road Transport and Highways Minister this evening. We are hopeful of some positive solution. Based on the solution offered, we will call the meeting of our executive committee to decide on whether to continue the strike or not," AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa told PTI.
As previous consultations with the government has failed to resolve the deadlock, AIMTC has also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in the matter.
The government has proposed electronic-toll collection system in the entire country by December, but the transporters claim this was not a practical solution as a pilot project in this regard was not successful.
Apart from demanding scrapping of the present toll collection system, which AIMTC says is a tool of harassment for truckers, it is also seeking a one-time payment of taxes and simplification of the TDS procedure.
"Government cannot scrap toll as half of about 325 toll booths pertain to private parties which may seek huge claims from the government which can run into Rs 2-3 lakh crore," Gadkari had said earlier.
AIMTC claims the cumulative loss to the truckers in five days would be about Rs 7,500 crore while the loss to the government could be more than Rs 50,000 crore.
It boasts of having 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos across the country under its fold.
According to reports from states, movement of goods has been impacted in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, among other places.
Supply of essential goods such as milk, vegetables and medicines has been kept out of the purview of the indefinite strike called by AIMTC.
Another truckers body, All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) has decided to keep away from the strike.