Truckers should be heard

Trucks play a pivotal role in the Indian economy. Over 70% of the nation’s freights are moved by truckers. Needless to say their welfare is very important for the country’s development. Overburdened by the high cost diesel, harassments by the police and tax collectors, increasing cost of the spare parts and operating expenses make trucker owners frustrated. They wanted the government to seriously pay heed to their requests. More than 2 lakh truck operators have complained to the surface transport ministry for the early solution to their problems. The ministry is not able to solve all their requests because most of the truckers’ problems involve other ministries.

The truck owners want Rs.10 per litre cut in the diesel costs. They want an uniform 4% VAT on diesel. Scrapping of registration & return filling requirements in the new Carriers Act. Reducing tyre prices by 30-35%. Interest free truck loans and increasing the tenure of truck loans. Finally truckers demand reducing the national permit fee from Rs.5000 to Rs.1,500.

Chandrajit Singh Lohara, president of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), an apex transporters body, which has over 4,000 associations affiliated to it says ‘we had a meeting with the transport secretary. Despite being fully aware of our demands and our concerns, the government has done nothing. We will go ahead with our call and the impact would be felt fro Monday itself. The loss due to transporters strike is pegged at Rs.28,000 crores per day.

The retail prices of the vegetables in Delhi shoot up by 15% to 20%. Tomato price went up from Rs. 12/kg to Rs.15. Potato price has gone up from Rs.5 to Rs. 7 per kg. similarly onion price has gone up from Rs.17 to Rs.20. Despite the increase in the availability of the vegetables the prices have gone up.

The Rising
Wholesale prices of vegetables at Azadpur Mandi

Items January 2 January 6
(Per quintal)
Potato 262 275
Onion 1,525 1,625
Tomato 560 620
Brinjal 300 450
Cabbage 300 337
Cauliflower 450 425

Prices of A-grade vegetables
All figures in Rs

Source: TOI, 7.1.2009, p.2

In the larger interests of the people who are reeling under recession, the government should act urgently to bring truckers back on the road. Any delay in the response will complicate the lives of ordinary people who depend on low cost vegetables and provisions. All the genuine concerns of the truckers should be addressed without any effort to cheat them with temporary assurances.

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