The undetermined strike by the lorry operators affiliated to the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) across the country to highlight removal of toll plazas on the national highways and other charters of demands commenced in the state on Friday.
The indefinite strike was to press the demands of reducing fuel price and for a uniform national pricing with quarterly revision, transparency and reduction in third party insurance premium.
Abolition of tax deduction at sources, rationalization of presumptive income under Sections 44 AE of Income Tax Act were the other demands. The AIMTC also demanded the government to address the E-Way Bill operational issues, abolish direct port delivery scheme and streamline port congestion.
Three lakh lorries off the roads
C. Dhanaraj, secretary, Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation, one of the constituents of the AIMTC, told The Hindu that the association accounted for 4.60 lakh lorries, of which three lakh lorries were already off the road from Friday.
About 1.5 lakh lorries have carried loads of onion, dhal and other perishable items to north Indian states and they too were returning back to Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Dhanaraj said that in Salem district alone, about 40,000 lorries were off the road and this has affected the transportation of vegetables, fruits, textiles, sago.
Mr. Dhanaraj said that despite the discussion the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, had with the office-bearers of the AIMTC on the removal of toll plazas on Thursday, no compromise could be reached on the issue.
The lorry operators are firm on continuing the strike till all their just demands were conceded by the Centre, Mr. Dhanaraj said.
The lorry booking agents who have expressed their support to the strike call suspended the booking of consignments since July 15. According to P. Rajavadivel, president of the Tamil Nadu Booking Agents Association, due to this about 15,000 lorries which used to carry the loads to other states daily, were not being operated from Friday.
Due to the commencement of the strike, all the major lorry sheds in Salem and Namakkal districts were overflowing with the vehicles. The grounded lorries have also occupied all the space available in the lorry bays on national highways and in the fuel retail outlets.