M A I N   N E W S

Truckers serve ultimatum on Centre
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 19
The Indian Motor Transport Congress has served a one-month notice on the Centre, asking it to either reduce the price of diesel by Rs 10 per litre by December 19 or face an indefinite strike from December 20.

Its president Charan Singh Lohara told The Tribune today that the notice had been served after a meeting of the national body of the Congress. He said the union government had reduced the price of aviation fuel by Rs 27 per litre and that of the furnace oil by Rs 30 per litre. However, the price of diesel had not been reduced.

Lohara said the diesel price should be brought down to Rs 26 per litre, the level that was in April, 2005, when crude oil price was $49.43 per barrel. He said downturn in the international and national economy had hit the truckers most. Goods companies had cut the freight rate drastically. “Earlier, truckers were given Rs 2,100 per tonne for transporting goods from Mumbai to Punjab, but now goods companies had reduced the freight to Rs 1,700 per tonne”, he said.

He said by charging Rs 1,700 per tonne from Mumbai to Punjab, truckers just meet their cost and save nothing.

The union government should announce a special package for truckers as had been announced in case of the aviation industry. He said the transport sector had the largest employer of semi-literate and illiterate youth.

Truckers should be exempted from toll across the country as a part of a package, he said. Other issues related to service tax and limit to retain Rs 20,000 as cash per trip should also be addressed by the Centre. He said service tax in case of truckers should be waived.

The national permit system and road tax system should be abolished. He said as all state governments were charging toll from truckers, there was no logic of continuing with the national permit system.



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