Over five lakh trucks went off the roads in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as part of an indefinite strike by transporters which began on Thursday in the two states. The lorry owners’ associations in both states said the members suspended transportation services from 6 a.m. in accordance with the decision taken by the South Zone Motor Transporters’ Welfare Association in support of their demands.
The association has exempted essential services like transport of vegetables, milk and petrol from the strike.
Andhra Pradesh Lorry Owners’ Association claimed that three lakh trucks had stopped plying. The association in Telangana said as many as 2.70 lakh trucks were off the roads. Some trucks and mini lorries were operating to supply essential goods.
The truckers are seeking withdrawal of the central government order on increased third party insurance, challan fees and penal amounts. Transporters are opposing steep increase of 50 percent in Third Party Premium (TPP) for commercial vehicles.
They say the move will further cripple the transport community, which was already suffering due to adverse economic conditions created by the increased toll gate charges, high cost of spare parts and diesel.
The association is also opposing the Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2016 and the vehicle scrapping policy.
Stating that there was no link between the age of a vehicle and pollution, the transporters’ body argues that it was fitness that was important.
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Scrapping vehicles, which completed 15 years of age, would render road transport operations economically unviable, it says.
It is also demanding uniform policy all over the country in fixation of diesel rates and toll gate fee.
The governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have directed district collectors to ensure that there was no shortage of essential commodities.
The officials of transport department said they would talk to leaders of the associations to address the issues in the purview of the states.
The truckers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are also demanding single permit system for both the states. Telangana Transport Minister Mahender Reddy said the transport commissioner would hold talks with his Andhra counterpart on the issue.