Five million truckers go on nationwide strike

July 2nd, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) As many as five million truckers have gone on strike all over India from Wednesday morning to protest against the surge in fuel prices and claims for trillions of rupees in tax arrears. The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has been at loggerheads with the finance ministry over the alleged evasion of service tax by goods transport agents. In recent months, tax authorities have issued tax recovery notices for Rs.5 trillion to them, dating back to 2001.

Last month, the government raised fuel prices by about 10 percent, attracting sharp criticism from the AIMTC.

The strike started early Wednesday morning as the talks between the AIMTC and the Union Minister of Highways and Road Transport T.R. Baalu to find a solution collapsed.

“We will continue with the indefinite strike if the government does not address our demands,” AIMTC president Charan Singh Lohara told reporters after the meeting.

The action threatens to cripple the transport network of the country at a time when India is struggling to maintain the economic growth achieved in recent years. Trucks carry more than half the country’s freight.

The strike will further worsen the stte of an economy already hit by soaring oil price and inflation.

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