Truckers to scale up agitation

Chandigarh, Oct 4 (IANS) Truck operators here and in Punjab and Haryana on Sunday vowed to intensify their agitation from Monday as the government has failed to meet their demands such as scrapping the toll system.

“The strike will start affecting life more in the coming days as shortfall of various items begins. The government has, so far, not shown any signs of accepting our demands. We will intensify our agitation from Monday,” truck operator Amrik Singh said.

The strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) – which claims to represent owners of about 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos – entered its fourth day on Sunday.

Consequently, the supply of goods from other parts of the country has been hit, and prices of fruits, vegetables and other commodities were on a rise.

“The prices of onions and tomatoes have gone up by at least 40 percent in the past four days. Supply of onions from Nasik and other places has been affected,” said Harish, a vegetable wholesale agent in Hisar.

The AIMTC is demanding scrapping of the toll system, claiming that toll barriers have become dens of corruption, harassment and extortion.

It claims that the toll system is causing unnecessary delays and leading to wastage of time and fuel.

The government has ruled out scrapping of toll.

The delivery of essential commodities like milk, vegetables and medicines has been kept out of the strike’s purview.

Truck operators in Chandigarh and in neighbouring states – Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh – threatened on Sunday that they will stop the supply of apples from Himachal Pradesh from Monday if the deadlock over the toll system was not broken.

Though the peak apple supply season (July to September) is over, apples from Kinnaur and other areas in higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh are still being transported to markets in Chandigarh, Delhi and other places.

The truckers’ body is also demanding one-time payment of taxes besides simplification of Tax Deducted at Source.

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