India truckers strike to protest fuel hike

02 July 2008 12:51  [Source: ICIS news]

MUMBAI (ICIS news)--Truckers across India have stopped transporting all goods barring fuel and essential commodities as part of a nationwide strike called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) against high toll taxes and the increase in fuel prices.

The move could increase the pressure on Indian chemical firms, which are already reeling under high inflation and rising operating costs.

AIMTC claims the support of the all state transporters' association for the strike, which has a combined fleet size of 4.8m trucks.

The government’s finance committee was expected to hold a meeting with the AIMTC leaders later in the day to discuss the issue, an AIMTC official said.

Media reports had earlier stated that the talks to end the strike collapsed after Highways and Road Transport Minister TR Baalu said it would not be possible to roll back the toll tax hike.

Petrochemical producers did not foresee any immediate impact of the strike but were worried about inventories running dry if the strike lasted too long.

"Although we have stocked up our inventory, but our supply to market has halted," said Saurav Ghosh, head of purchase at pigments producer Meghmani Organics.

"We cannot even use private trucks as there is fear of them being pelted, and our inventory being destroyed, so we are only left with the choice of sitting and waiting for the strike to get over," he added.

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By: Isha Jha
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