1.70 lakh trucks off road in Odisha, movement in West Bengal unaffected

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Around 1.70 lakh truckers from Odisha on Thursday joined the nationwide indefinite strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) demanding scrapping of the present toll system.

The truckers’ body is also demanding one-time payment of taxes besides simplification of tax deducted at source (TDS).

Nearly 87 lakh trucks across the country have joined the strike, said sources.

As the trucks remained off the road, transportation of goods to various places in the state was badly affected.

However, essential commodities and perishable goods have been kept out of the purview of the strike.

“We were forced to go on strike after several unsuccessful discussions with the central government. We have no option left but to go on strike,” said Odisha Truck Owners’ Federation general secretary Rabinarayan Satpathy.

He said the central government has increased the number of toll gates following which truckers were facing numerous problems including wastage of fuel due to standing and idling trucks and delayed deliveries.

The truckers’ body in Odisha is also demanding non-implementation of green tax proposed by the state government. The government has announced that a green tax would be imposed on vehicles older than 15 years to discourage such vehicles from plying.

Movement of trucks within West Bengal, however, remained unaffected on Thursday with the state’s largest truckers’ body not participating directly in the indefinite, nationwide strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) to oppose the toll system.

“We have lent moral support to the issues on which the strike has been called. Though we are not opposing the strike, we are not directly participating in the strike. There is no effect on the movement of trucks in the state,” Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators Association general secretary Subhas Chandra Bose told IANS.

Bose, however, said with the strike drawing a good response in the country’s southern region, the number of trucks coming in from states like Andhra Pradesh has dwindled.

“If such a situation continues over the next few days, we will have shortage of items like fish and eggs, as we import them mainly from Andhra.”

When asked about the impact of the strike in other states, he said: “There is no loading of trucks in Gujarat. Seventy percent of vehicles were on the road in Mumbai, while the response was mixed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha.”

An Agartala report said that movement of trucks was hit in Tripura.

“We have joined the strike as we support the issues,” Tripura Truck Owners’ Association president Rupak Roy Burman told IANS in Agartala.

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