Trucks off roads, government assures early solution (Lead)

July 2nd, 2008 - 4:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) As millions of truckers went on an all-India strike early Wednesday, the government said all their grievances would be addressed and the issues would be resolved soon. “The government is looking into the grievances of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC),” said V. Sridhar, a member with the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).

“We are willing to give more concessions and exemptions needed to resolve the crisis,” he told reporters, adding that the issue of toll and service taxes raised by them was not a big issue.

“Their demands are about procedural issues. The government is alive to their problems. We have asked for certain data from the truckers’ body.”

A representative of the truckers union met Highways and Road Transport Minister T.R. Baalu early Wednesday but talks remained inconclusive.

“We will have another round of talks with the government,” D.K. Sharma, adviser with AIMTC, told IANS.

“We have other concerns also relating to increased toll tax, service tax and other issues. We will continue our agitation till our demands are met,” he said, adding nearly four million trucks are off the roads.

He also said that oil firms were forcing them to buy costlier branded diesel but the Indian Oil Corp - country’s largest transport fuel retailer - has maintained that the cheaper fuel was freely available.

Earlier, the price difference between branded and normal diesel was 50 paise per litre, which has gone up to Rs.2.25 a litre, the truckers said.

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