Oppose fuel hike, allege harassment faced by drivers in the name of GST
Goods transport operators downed shutters across the National Capital Region (NCR) here on Monday to partake in a two-day national strike in protest against high fuel prices and alleged harassment faced by drivers in the name of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) at toll booths across the country since the implementation of the tax regime.
As many as 90,000 trucks and other goods carriers kept off the roads due to the symbolic strike, organised under the banner of the umbrella body All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC). According to transporters, the strike affected business of about ₹4,000 crore and is expected to have a negative impact on the supply of perishable commodities such as milk and vegetables, among others.
To strike after Diwali
The current two-day strike, according to AIMTC chairman Kultaran Singh, will end on Tuesday. However, it is expected to be followed by an indefinite strike after Diwali.
“Around 1.5 lakh goods transport vehicles, including trucks, leave and enter Delhi-NCR on a daily basis,” said Mr. Singh.An indefinite strike may be called after Diwali in consultation with transporters’ unions across the country if the government fails to take steps to redress the grievances of truck operators, Mr. Singh said.
“We will hold a meeting of goods transporters across the country in Delhi after Diwali and take a decision on the future course of action. If we go on strike, it will be an indefinite one. Apart from GST and the issue of harassment of drivers at toll booths, our chief demand is reduction in the price of diesel, which has gone up by ₹15 to ₹20 per litre,” he said, adding that a reduction in fuel price could have a positive and direct impact on the average household.According to Delhi Goods Transport Organisation president Rajender Kapoor, goods carriers stayed off the roads in NCR on Monday. However routine work at transport offices and godowns went on as usual, he added.
Truck operators have been demanding concessions on GST and reduction in the prices of diesel, besides protesting against “oppression and corruption” among road transport officers in different States.“Over 90% truck operators are small. They can not comply with GST. So we are demanding no registration, no compliance,” Mr. Singh said.
About 70% of operational cost in goods transport business includes diesel prices, which have gone up in the recent times, he said. “Despite falling international prices, diesel prices have only gone up. The government should provide us relief by bringing down the prices,” he added.
Source:- The Hindu