January 5, 2009 1:07:33 pm
Prices of essential commodities and vegetables are expected to rise following an indefinite nationwide transporters’ strike by the All India Motor Transport Congress,its spokesperson said on Monday.
The strike call,given by 4,000 associations affiliated to the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC),commenced from Monday midnight following which prices of essential commodities may shoot up if it continues for the next four to five days,AIMTC spokesperson N L Gupta said in Mumbai.
Transporters have demanded that the government introduce a bailout package for the sector to address issues such as high price of diesel,tyres,and permits,besides other demands.
They have demanded reduction of diesel price by Rs 10 per litre since crude oil prices in the international market have declined drastically.
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The list also includes levying uniform four percentage point VAT on diesel,scrapping registration and return filing requirements in the new Carriers Act,reducing tyre prices by 30-35 per cent and rolling back national permit fees from Rs 5,000 to Rs 1,500.
“There are no serious efforts from the government on resolving the transporters issues. We had meetings with the Surface Transport Ministry on Saturday and Sunday without any progress,” Gupta said.
The strike will affect the supply of daily goods and estimates are that there could be a revenue loss of above Rs 50,000 crore,a trader Pravin Chedda said in Mumbai.
AIMTC stated the fact that the international crude oil prices have dropped to USD 38 per barrel from USD 147 per barrel earlier,the government is still using the price reduction as a gimmick before every election.
Moreover,the tax structure is such that almost 55 per cent of the diesel prices constitute of State and Central taxes.
“Agitation or strike is the last thing that we transporters would resort to but Central Government’s attitude towards transporters and repeated failures to implement its promises,made during our past few agitations,also the one held in July 2008 is what prompting us to go for this Chakka Jam,” Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA) General Secretary Girish Agrawal said.
This time it is a do or die situation for over 48 lakh goods carrying vehicles and about 10 crore people directly and indirectly dependent on it,Agrawal added.
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