11 Jan :Shri Brahm Dutt, Secretary, Road Transport & Highways, today reiterated the government stand on transporters’ strike that while the government is open to discussing their problems, it will not allow a section of transporters to take the country to ransom.
Briefing the media on the truckers’ strike, Shri Brahm Dutt informed that local transporters’ associations have called off strike in many places including Pune (Maharashtra), Hasan (Karnataka), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Gurgaon (Haryana). He also informed that the representatives of All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners’ Associations (AICOGOA), who are not participating in the strike, have assured their full cooperation for smooth movement of goods and commodities.
Shri Dutt also informed that the strike, which entered the seventh day today, has affected inter-State movement of goods, especially industrial goods, to some extent but supply of essential and daily use items has not been affected. Arrangements have been made by the FCI and State governments to ensure that adequate quantities of wheat and rice are available in the fair price shops.
The Secretary said that all the grievances of transporters have been addressed in July last year when detailed deliberations were held with the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC). However, the striking transporters have been coming up with more and more demands, which are unreasonable and untenable.
Shri Brahm Dutt also informed that the Government is in close contact with States/UTs to ensure uninterrupted movement of essential commodities across the country. States have been advised to keep contingency plans ready and invoke ESMA and NSA where required, so that supply of essential commodities is not affected. Several State governments have informed that they have prepared contingency plans to meet the situation, he said.
Giving details of alternative arrangements to deal with the strike if it continued further, Shri Brahm Dutt said that about 15-20 lakh trucks would be arranged by the States to ensure movement of goods across the country.
A State Transport Ministers’ meeting has been called tomorrow, which will discuss the prevailing situation and steps required to ensure uninterrupted movement of essential commodities across the country. The Central Government will take up the issue of national permit with the States and would emphasise that it would help in smooth inter-State movement of goods.
As the strike will aggravate the impact of global recession and thus weaken the national economy, Shri Brahm Dutt termed the strike anti-national. At the same time, he appealed to all the transporters to resume work in the interest of the nation especially because their reasonable demands have been met in July 2008 and the government is open to examine the remaining issues.