Mumbai: Over 60 percent of about 90 lakh trucks of India are already off the roads as truckers rejecting government’s explanation about fuel price hike started on Monday their nationwide strike demanding revision in oil prices, exuberant toll charges and third party insurance premium.
“We have been forced to go on strike as our repeated pleas to Prime Minister Narendra Modi have failed to yield any result”, Channa Reddy, President of All-India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owner's Association (ACOGOA), said.
He said that the diesel price was at Rs.53 in 2013 when the international crude price was $110 per barrel, but now, when the crude price is at $70 per barrel, the diesel price is Rs.74 in Karnataka and much higher in other states.
“The government’s argument is that the fuel price increase was due to international prices. However, we think the reason for price increase is not due to international prices but high taxes levied by the governments, Centre and the states,” Reddy said.
Meanwhile, truck owners’ associations are divided on strike. This is why the strike has little impact in Maharashtra – host to around 27 lakh trucks. Traders in the wholesale APMC market at Navi Mumbai also said that as of now, supplies are unaffected.
Of the three apex bodies of transporters in India, the powerful All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) had called for a strike on July 20 for the same reasons, but ACOGOA announced a stir suddenly last week, a leader said, on condition of anonymity.
“The fact is, ACOGOA has little presence in Maharashtra, compared to AIMTC,” he said, adding, “There will be clarity on the response to the strike by Monday noon.”
Private luxury buses in Maharashtra however have joined the strike and there are reports that many tour operators have stopped advanced booking.
“Many people who were in home towns to celebrate Eid and because of summer vacations are facing difficulties as tour operators are refusing bookings because of the strike”, Hamid Naeem, a teacher, said.
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