90,000 trucks off road, paddy lifting takes a hit

Patiala, October 10: Lifting of paddy was hit in parts of Punjab today following a strike by the All-Punjab Truck Operators’ Union in solidarity with the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which is observing a two-day nationwide strike.

More than 90,000 trucks remained off road in the state. The strike, though, had a limited impact. On Monday, truck operators began their two-day nationwide strike in protest against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and increase in diesel prices. Punjab truckers are demanding release of Rs 150-crore dues pending on account of wheat-lifting. The strike could hamper the state government’s claim of “48-hour deadline for paddy-lifting” and payment to farmers for their crop in the ensuing kharif season.

A member of the All-Punjab Truck Operators’ Union said, “The strike resulted in a loss of Rs 30 crore. This is just the beginning. If the government fails to fulfil our demands, we will start an agitation on October 15.”

“The state government has not shown any inclination to clear our dues,” another union member said. Today’s strike exacerbated the glut-like situation is several grain markets of the state. With the truck operators adamant on striking work on October 15 if the government fails to clear their dues, the lifting in the markets of the state could be severely impacted and also result in price rise of essential commodities.

Last week, the truckers had threatened to boycott paddy-lifting after October 14 if their dues were not cleared in 10 days.“We are left with no option, but to go on strike on October 15,” said Happy Sandhu, president, All-Punjab Truck Operators’ Union. “The government will have to clear our dues otherwise there will be a glut in the grain markets, as paddy will not be lifted. We have waited for more than six months for our right and there has been no word from the government,” he added.

Sourced from tribuneindia.com

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