Transporters call off eight-day strike

January 12th, 2009 - 9:18 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Jan.12 (ANI): The eight-day-old strike by transporters has been called off following a second round of discussions held between the government and representatives of the All India Motors Transport Congress (AIMTC).
Secretary, Road Transport and Highways Brahm Dutt told reporters here this evening that the strike has been called off.
The details of the agreement reached between the government and the AIMTC managing committee members, however, were not fully divulged.
Dutt told the media that the government had always been open for discussions as far as solving the problems of the transporters, but was firm that it would not allow a section of the transporters to hold the country to ransom.
Dutt said the strike had affected the inter-State movement of goods, especially industrial goods, to some extent but supply of essential and daily use items has not been affected.
He said that most of the grievances of the transporters had been addressed in July last year during detailed deliberations with the AIMTC.
He said that the strike was withdrawn unconditionally after AIMTC office bearers held detailed deliberations with the Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu here today.
The State Transport Ministers meeting convened earlier in the afternoon by the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways had unanimously appealed to the AIMTC to withdraw strike immediately and restore normal movement of motor vehicles across the country.
Participants at the meeting had also unanimously authorised Baalu to deliberate with AIMTC representatives to ensure an end to the transporters strike.
Speaking after the withdrawal of strike, Baalu said that a high-level committee under the Chairmanship of Dutt, with representatives from the Finance and Transport Departments of various State Governments and various stakeholders, including four members of the AIMTC will be constituted to look into the issues relating to the National Permit system and rationalisation of motor vehicle taxes.
He said that the Committee would submit its Report within eight weeks.
Baalu also announced the constitution of a Standing Committee, both at the Central and State Governments level, to ensure that there is a permanent mechanism for redressal of the grievances of the transporters.
The Minister clarified to the AIMTC that as agreed upon earlier between the Ministry and the AIMTC on July 4, 2008, there would be no increase in toll rates on Government-funded National Highway projects for a period of one year from July 4, 2008, to July 3, 2009, and that the rates that would be applicable would be those prior to December 1, 2007.
On the issues relating to Service Tax notices, non-deduction of TDS from truck freight payments and reduction in prices of tyres by way of removal of import restrictions, reduction in duties, etc., Baalu announced that a detailed representation on each of these issues would be submitted by the AIMTC to his Ministry, and in turn, the Ministry would take up the matter with the concerned Ministries and Departments.
The Minister assured the AIMTC representatives that on the issue of reduction in diesel prices, an appropriate decision would be taken at the highest level of the Government after considering all aspects. (ANI)

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