Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh's truck operators have announced a three-day strike from Monday, August 10, to protest against the steep hike in diesel price, illegal collection at state check posts and also demanded due credit for their contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The truck operators, including All India Motor Transport Congress, have urged the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to roll back the hike in VAT and other taxes during the last one year.
In the backdrop of the pandemic, they have also demanded insurance cover to the truck drivers considering them as frontline “Corona warriors”, as they are exposing themselves to health risk and operating during the pandemic, said the operators body.
“Around seven lakh vehicles including trucks and small commercial vehicles will participate in this three-day strike,” claimed Vijay Kalra, Vice-President (Western region) of the All India Motor Transport Congress on Sunday.
Kalra said that due to lack of business amid COVID-19 outbreak, the state transporters are facing a tough time. Moreover, diesel and petrol prices have gone up significantly during the lockdown.
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“Hence, we demanded that VAT on diesel should be reduced, transporters should be exempted from road tax and GST during the two quarters of this financial year (April-June and July-September) and truck drivers should be covered under insurance for COVID-19 by the state government,” Kalra said.
Kalra also demanded that the check posts of the Transport Department should be shut down immediately, alleging rampant corruption on such posts at the borders of the state.
With trucks going off roads for three days, the government is likely to incur a revenue loss of Rs 400 crore per day.
Truck drivers, diesel-petrol tankers, bus and taxi associations and others have extended their support to the three-day strike.
Commenting over it, MP Petrol Pump Dealers’ Association President Ajay Singh said, "We are supporting truck operators who are going on a three-day strike from Monday against increasing diesel prices. All trucks will remain off roads from August 10-12. The truck operators have been continuing with their transportation duty during the outbreak and so all the other issues like insurance cover to drivers are genuine and should be considered."