Truckers strike pushes up commodity prices in Delhi, other parts of country

January 7th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Jan 7 (ANI): A nationwide strike by tens of thousands of truckers entered its third day on Wednesday, pushing the prices of vegetables and fruits up mildly in New Delhi.
Although the impact of the strike was not felt much in Delhi on Tuesday, vegetable traders said prices have slightly gone up at the Azadpur Market.
“The strike has led to a hike in the prices of the vegetables,” said Ashok Kumar, a vegetable trader.
The strike has also affected the livelihood of the labourers employed by traders at Azadpur market for loading and unloading sacks of vegetables and fruits.
Due to the strike, the number of trucks coming into the market has reduced, leaving the laborers with less work.
“The strike has affected our livelihood. Earlier, we used to get enough work, but these days there is less work,” said Surender Yadav, a labourer.
On Tuesday, Union Shipping and Road Transport Minister T. R. Baalu appealed to the transporters to call off their strike and opt for a negotiated settlement.
“I can only request the transporters to currently withdraw the strike and go for negotiable settlement,” said Baalu.
In this context, Baalu said that the oil sectors have incurred losses that need to be compensated.
“The oil sectors have suffered loss for the past four to five years. The accumulated loss they have to recover, but they cannot recover overnight. And you cannot expect overnight industry reduce also,” added Baalu.
The All India Motor Transport Congress, which represents around six million truckers across the country called for the indefinite strike from Monday, demanding reduction of diesel prices and withdrawal of the service tax on truckers.
The truckers have vowed to stay off the roads until their demands are met.
Reportedly, consequent to the call for the strike, there was about 10-20 per cent of normal freight traffic in India on Monday, the transport authorities said.
Over 70 per cent of freight in India moves by road, and truckers have benefited from a booming economy that requires the transport of steel and cement for construction. But the country’’s 200,000 transport companies have been hit in recent months by a slowing economy, higher interest rates on vehicle loans and greater competition from the railways. India cut prices of petrol and diesel on December 6 after crude oil tumbled, but the economy, has shown signs of slowing amid the global financial crisis after growing at nine per cent or more in the past three years. Inflation is at a near ten-month low and the truckers” strike is not expected to have any long-term adverse impact. (ANI)

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