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Nitin Gadkari Welcomes End of Transport Union Strike

Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Mr Nitin Gadkari (file photo)

New Delhi/Mumbai/Chennai:

Port Wings News Network:

Union Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari hailed the All India Motor Transport Congress’s decision to call off its strike.

Talking to the media in Nagpur, Gadkari said that he and the finance minister were in constant discussions with the transport unions in this regard.

“People were facing problems due to the transport unions’ strike. Today, we had success in our discussions with the transport unions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also guided us in our talks with the unions,” he added.

“I want to assure the transport unions that the government will take positive steps towards their demands discussed during our meetings and we regret the problems faced by the public due to the strike,” said Gadkari.

The government will announce a national permit scheme for tourist vehicles, to facilitate seamless movement of such vehicles across the country, he added.

HIGH-LEVEL COMMITTEE

“There will also be seamless traffic movement at the toll nakas within the next six months. Trucks will be allowed to move in less than three minutes at the toll nakas and they will be given fast-track stickers.

“The government will also explore the possibility of providing health services under the ESIC to the drivers and co-workers of commercial vehicles. It will also look into the feasibility of extending the coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana to the drivers and co-workers of commercial vehicles,” said Gadkari.

A high-level committee under the chairmanship of the secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, will be set up for expeditious resolution of transporters’ demands, he said, adding that the panel will submit its recommendations to the government within three months.

The truckers’ body that claims the support of 93 lakh truckers across the country had gone on an indefinite strike on July 20 to press demands such as reduction in diesel prices, low third-party insurance premiums and a favourable toll collection system.

EIGHT DAY LONG TRUCKERS’ STRIKE END

Transporters on 28 July called off their eight-day long strike after the government agreed to consider their demands, bringing relief to the industry mainly FMCG, ecommerce and auto players who were hit by the disruption in supplies.

A joint statement from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) said, “The agitation by the AIMTC stands withdrawn immediately.”

The decision to end the stir was taken after a marathon meeting of transporters and senior Road Transport and Highways Ministry officials today. The truckers’ body, that claims support of 93 lakh truckers across the country, had gone on an indefinite strike on July 20 to press for their demands such as reduction in diesel prices, low third-party insurance premiums, and a favourable toll collection system.

TEA Reaction

Shri Raja M Shanmugham, President, Tirupur Exporters Association, stated that: “We would like to note that the ongoing indefinite lorry strike has created a major impact on Tirupur Knitwear exporting units as they could not transport the finished garments for shipment either through Sea port, Tuticorin, Chennai, Cochin and also Mumbai or through Air Port, Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin. The cascading effect would be severe on the exporting units and the delay in settling the issue would derail the exports and affect entire textile industry.”

“We wish to emphasis a point that our members have been already started receiving communication from Foreign Buyers and further delay would lead to loss of not only existing  orders and also getting future orders as they question reliability of delivery in-time from our country,” he added.

Assocham Reaction

Industry body Assocham said the strike caused direct and indirect estimated loss of more than Rs 50,000 crore to the economy, with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) being the worst affected. Automobile industry body SIAM said companies have had to adjust production as the strike affected both parts supplies and distribution of vehicles. “Our members are facing an unprecedented crisis as it is affecting the movement of vehicles and components supply because of the strike,” SIAM deputy director general Sugato Sen said.

E-commerce major Amazon also said the strike affected its product deliveries in some cities. AIMTC Core Committee Chairman Bal Malkit Singh claimed truckers lost around Rs 32,000 crore during the eight-day protest.

Reacting to withdrawal of the strike, CII President Rakesh Bharti Mittal said, “The end of the truckers strike comes as a big relief to industry across the country…We hope that the after effects of the strike and losses will be recovered soon.”

Cotton Association of India (CAI) president Atul Ganatra said ginning factories were on the verge of closure due to lack of raw material. Apart from reduction in diesel prices, truckers also protested against “flawed and non-transparent” toll collection system that they said favours road concessioners. They claimed time and fuel loss amounts to up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore annually on account of it.

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