Commodity supplies hit as truckers’ strike continues

January 8th, 2009 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) Truckers Thursday said their nationwide strike will continue, even as traders said the four-day-old agitation has hit supplies of essential commodities.Over six million trucks went off the roads across India in the early hours Monday, with transporters demanding that diesel and tyre prices be lowered.

Brahm Yadav, chairman of the Delhi Agriculture Marketing Board, said prices of several commodities, which have already risen on account of the strike, could shoot up further if it continued.

And this could yet happen, as the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the apex body of transporters, says the strike will continue. “Like us, traders too feel cheated and harassed due to the indifferent approach of the government. It (the deadlock) is unfortunate. But the strike will continue,” AIMTC president Charan Singh Lohara told IANS.

AIMTC had called a similar strike last June, but withdrew after the government accepted its demands.

Over 70 percent of freight in India moves by road, and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), the apex body of exporters’ organisations across the country, has said the country would lose about Rs.10 billion daily due to the stir.

A senior government official said the government cannot be held to ransom, and added that states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu could soon declare the strike as illegal.

The central government has advised states to act on the 18-point action plan it had issued two days ago to deal with the situation, including implementing the Essential Commodities Act, Essential Services Maintenance Act and the National Security Act.

However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which leads the Left coalition government in West Bengal and till recently supported the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the centre, has asked the central government to meet the truckers’ demands.

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