Truckers’ strike hits vegetable supplies in Madhya Pradesh

January 10th, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, Jan 10 (IANS) The nationwide truckers’ strike which entered the sixth day Saturday has started having an impact on vegetable supplies and prices in Madhya Pradesh, though grocery supplies have not been affected yet. Vegetable prices have started rising though truckers associations have listed the commodity as as essential, along with milk, fruits, medicines, petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas, which are to be transported despite the strike.

According to Bhopal Transport Association president Ajay Sharma, save for vehicles transporting water and milk, all other commodities would soon be hit if the strike continued. “The vehicles that carry petrol, diesel, drugs and vegetables are being transported so far.”

Added Ashok Malpani, president of the Shree Bhopal Transport Association: “If our demands are not fulfilled, lorries exempted from the strike for transportation of essential commodities will also be taken off the roads.”

Striking transporters are demanding reduction in diesel price by at least Rs.10 per litre and that of tyres by 35 percent. Additionally, they want withdrawal of service tax on truckers and uniform rate of value added tax (VAT) across states.

About 18,000 trucks in Madhya Pradesh have gone off the road after the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) called an indefinite strike Monday. There are about 32,000 truckers in the state.

Leaders of the state’s various transport associations claimed goods worth more than Rs.50 crore (Rs.500 million) were piled up in warehouses at Mandideep, Pithampur, Dewas and other major industrial areas.

Wholesale traders, who learnt of the impending strike much in advance, stockpiled commodities before the agitation started.

“There won’t be any adverse effect on the market at present, but if the strike continues, there’s bound to be some impact,” said Anupam Agarwal, spokesperson of Akhil Bhartiya Vyapar Udyog Mandal, a traders’ association.

“We, however, support their (truckers’) cause as their demands are genuine and the government should look into the problem,” Agarwal added.

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