Truckers on Thursday proceeded on a nationwide indefinite strike Thursday morning on the decision of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) to protest against the current toll system.
“Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that toll tax can not be removed and that they will complete e-tolling in next six months… e-tolling project of the government is a failed concept… even their pilot project has failed”.
The truck operators association had last went on strike in 2008 demanding addressal of a host of issues including exemption from payment of 12.5 per cent service tax, rationalising levies on diesel and abolishing toll tax. The government can not scrap toll.
On All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) keeping away from the strike, Wadhwa said AIMTC was the apex body and represented about 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos. “Moreover, the government has also been collecting a lot of money from us through the cess”, said Bhim Wadhwa, President, AIMTC, adding that the BJP had spoken about having toll-free roads when it came to power.
“AIMTC suggestion to have fixed annual toll fee of Rs 30,000 for a truck on national permit and Rs 10,000 for intrastate permit vehicle needs examination as proposal is highly flawed and irrational”, Coordinator IFTRT SP Singh said.
About the strike impact in other states, he said: “There is no loading of trucks in Gujarat”.
In Madhya Pradesh, supply of essential goods was hit.
This would seriously affect transport of essential commodities, vegetables and goods and also construction materials, Coimbatore District Lorry Owners Association president, Kaliyaperumal, told reporters today. “We told the government that we are ready to pay more than the revenue earned from toll plazas”.
He said the central government had increased the number of toll plazas due to which truckers were facing numerous problems, including waste of fuel due to ideal running and delayed deliveries.