Truck operators have begun their two-day nationwide strike to protest
against the Goods and Services Tax or GST, diesel price hike and corruption on
roads. The countrywide protests have been organised by truckers' association
All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).
Calling for a 36-hour nationwide strike starting from October nine, truck
owners and operators are protesting "disruptive policies" under the
GST and are demanding the inclusion of diesel in the new indirect tax (GST)
Transporters have decided to protest against the callous and indifferent
attitude of government officials, GST, diesel price hike and corruption on
roads by observing a token 'chakka jam' (strike) on October 9 and 10, AIMTC
president SK Mittal told reporters ahead of the strike.
AIMTC, the top body of transporters, represents around 93 lakh truckers and
around 50 lakhs bus and tourist operators across India.
Supplies of commodities including food are likely to be affected during the
peak of the festival season due to the token strike.
Mr Mittal said that "contra laws" in the present GST regime has
led to coercive registration and unnecessary compliance by truckers and
transporters. The sale of used business attracts GST, which leads to double
taxation by the government, he added.
Another transporters body - the All India Transporters Welfare Association
or AITWA - said that it will support AIMTC's nationwide strike claiming that
the government has failed to give any clarification on national sales tax GST
"The strike call is given by All India Motor Transport Congress and we
are supporting them," AITWA president Pradeep Singhal said, adding that
"They (government officials) do not want us to understand the GST, they do
not want to explain the GST to us, they do not want to give any
clarification... and they are making it extremely complicated," he
Another reason for the strike is the spiraling price for diesel. Stating
that the exorbitant rise in diesel prices and daily changes in fuel rates have
adversely affected the sector, AIMTC said that the government should revise the
prices of diesel on quarterly basis instead of a daily basis.
Mr Singhal also appealed to the government to make diesel prices uniform
across the country and be brought down to the level of global prices.
"Diesel and tolls account for more than 70 per cent of the operating
cost of trucks. Diesel must be brought under GST to ensure uniformity of fuel
pricing across the country," Calcutta Goods Transport Association (CGTA)
president Prabhat Kumar Mittal said.
When asked if it is wise to go for a token strike in the midst of the
festival season, Mr Singhal said he believes that a token 'chakka jam' (strike)
is a wise move at the time, and threatened to go on an indefinite strike after
Diwali. "It is a suicidal move (strike during festive season). We are
making a loss to ourself when we stop our vehicles on the road (hence a 2-day
strike for the time being). After Deepavali when the festive season is over, we
are going to go on an indefinite strike if the government does not listen and