Solan: Cement truckers say no to freight rate cut : The Tribune India

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Solan: Cement truckers say no to freight rate cut

To hold meet today as Adani group shuts 2 plants in Himachal Pradesh over ‘losses’

Solan: Cement truckers say no to freight rate cut

Picture for representational purpose only.



Tribune News Service

Ambika Sharma

Solan, December 15

The Adani group, which recently took over the Associated Cement Companies (ACC) plant at Gagal and the Ambuja Cements Limited (ACL) plant at Darlaghat, shut operations at both facilities from today, citing financial losses.

The transportation societies engaged with the twin plants had rejected the management’s decision to lower the freight rate to Rs 6 per tonne per km (PTPK) from Rs 11.41 (at ACC) and Rs 10.58 (ACL).

While the management pleads that it was trying to reduce the cost of operations to sustain in the market, truckers claim it was an arm-twisting tactic by the Adani group.

The management based its stand on the recommendations of a committee constituted in 2005 on the directions of the high court to fix the freight.

The transportation societies will convene a general house at Darlaghat tomorrow to chalk out their strategy.

Chief Secretary RD Dhiman today directed the Deputy Commissioner, Solan, to convene a meeting with the management and representatives of the truckers to break the stalemate. Truckers, however, did not turn up for the meeting today in view of their general house tomorrow.

The ACL plant had engaged 1,588 six-wheeler trucks and 1,391 multi-axle trucks of eight transportation societies: Ambuja Darlaghat-Kashlog-Mangu Truck Operators’ Union, Solan District Truck Operators (SDTO), Baghal Land Loosers, Golden Land Loosers, Kurgan Land Loosers, Mining Area Land Loosers and two ex-servicemen societies of Solan and Hamirpur.

Jai Dev, who heads the SDTO, said the freight to Rs 6 for the hills and Rs 3 for the plains was totally unacceptable as this is much lower than the existing rate of Rs 10.58 and Rs 5.29. He added that there was no rationale behind going back to the rate applicable 17 years ago in 2005.

Truckers contended that they had bought trucks after their arable land was acquired for setting up the cement unit in 1992. They had no other source of income and accepting the low rates would leave them bankrupt as many had taken loans to purchase trucks.

They also claimed that the management had closed its cement dumps in Himachal and neighbouring states, further shrinking their transportation work. States like Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir were now being catered to by its plant in Punjab, as against the earlier practice of getting supplies from Darlaghat. Company officials said this measure was taken to improve the logistics. With the crisis having erupted within days of the new Congress government taking over, a section of the truckers alleged that a conspiracy could not be ruled out to foment trouble for the new government.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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