A man walks between two Ashok Leyland Ltd. goods-carrier trucks parked at a toll plaza in Mumbai. (Photographer: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Bloomberg News)

Truck Operators To Continue Indefinite Strike

The nationwide indefinite strike by transporters received a mixed response on the first day today even as truckers’ talks with the government remained inconclusive.

About 50-60 per cent of around 93 lakh trucks that are affiliated to the apex body were off the roads, PTI reported Bal Malkit Singh, chairman of core committee of the All-India Motor Transport Congress, as saying. He expressed confidence that more would join the stir.

The Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training said the strike has a partial impact so far in the country, including in the capital Delhi.

Their key demands include simplification of e-way bill mechanism under the goods and services tax, lowering of diesel prices and rationalisation of toll rates. Besides, they want a lower third-party insurance premium and it should be exempt from GST.

Truckers had decided not to disrupt the supply of essential commodities. The strike seemed to be more effective in Maharashtra and Mumbai with a larger proportion of trucks staying off the roads starting from 6 am when the bandh began.

BloombergQuint found trucks entering the city parked at the Vashi truck terminal. Drivers said they will get a daily wage of Rs 300-500 till the strike lasts.

The School Bus and Company Bus Owners Association of Maharashtra also extended their support to the truckers’ strike, its president Anil Garg said. Over 8,000 buses in Mumbai and 40,000 buses across Maharashtra are affiliated to the body.

Singh told BloombergQuint that the strike “received very good response, more than our expectations”. “This time mere assurances won’t do. We want positive results and implementation.”

He said transporters, who had last-minute meetings with senior government functionaries, including Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, decided to continue with the strike as it did not get any concrete assurances on their demands. Goyal suggested formation of a committee didn’t offer anything substantial, he said.

There were reports of the strike impacting movement of goods in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.

As many as 4.5 lakh trucks were off the roads in Tamil Nadu since this morning, C Dhanaraj, secretary, State Lorry Owners' Federation, said, according to PTI.

Parvinder Singh Bhatia, president of Federation of Madhya Pradesh Motors and Goods Transport Association, claimed that 95 per cent of the state's around 25,000 transporters are participating in the strike, PTI reported.

(With inputs from PTI)