You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Truckers in southern states on indefinite strike

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-03-2017 Dharani Thangavelu

Chennai/Bengaluru: Truckers belonging to the South India Motor Transport Association (SIMTA) went on an indefinite strike on Thursday across the southern states in protest against higher insurance premiums and a rule to scrap old vehicles.

SIMTA had objected to the Centre’s decision to raise third-party insurance premium of the vehicles by as much as 50% and to scrap vehicles that are more than 15 years old. In addition, Tamil Nadu truck owners have urged the state government to roll back the diesel price hike which was triggered due to an increase in value added tax (VAT).

Office-bearers of SIMTA—president Gopal Naidu and secretary G. R. Shanmugappa, held discussions with Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan and senior officials of the ministry of transport in New Delhi on Tuesday. While the Centre has agreed to withdraw its order on scrapping vehicles that are more than 15 years old, the association has also urged the Centre to stop collecting toll on roads where the entire investment on the project has been recovered.

According to the association, of the 363 toll plazas on the national highways across the country, more than a 100 are in the southern states of which Tamil Nadu has 41. A total of 26 toll plazas continue to function in Tamil Nadu after having recovered their investments, it said.

There are 220 million vehicles of all categories, across the country out of which 40 million are over 15 years old, said Shanmugappa.

While truck owners in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana began their strike on Thursday, truck owners in Kerala are expected to join the strike on Friday.

According to M.R. Kumarasamy, president of State Lorry Owners’ Federation –Tamil Nadu, while 425,000 vehicles were off the roads in Tamil Nadu, over 3 million trucks did not operate across the southern states.

In Karnataka, while some of the associations have begun their protests on Thursday, others would join on 1 April, said Shanmugappa. There are close to 100,000 trucks in Karnataka and around 200,000 that enter the state.

Channa Reddy, president of Federation of Karnataka lorry owners association said: “We have decided to agitate from 1 April since this is year- end period.” According to the estimates of the Karnataka lorry owners association, third party premium rates have gone up by 800% during 2002-17.”

According to the State Lorry Owners’ Federation–Tamil Nadu, the strike is estimated to have caused Rs5,000 crore loss per day across all the states and Rs1,500 crore loss in Tamil Nadu per day.

Nidheesh M.K. in Trivandrum contributed to the story.

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon