The nationwide indefinite strike by transporters received a mixed response on the first day today even as truckers' talks with the government remained inconclusive.
The All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) core committee chairman Bal Malkit Singh claimed that about 50-60 per cent of around 93 lakh trucks that are affiliated to the apex body were off the roads, and expressed confidence that more would join the stir.
The Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT) said the strike has a partial impact so far in the country, including in the capital Delhi.
Reports from financial capital Mumbai said the strike seemed to be more effective in Maharashtra with a larger proportion of trucks staying off the roads starting from 6 am when the bandh began.
"There are trucks which are on their way to dhabas, petrol pumps or yards where the drivers will go and park them during the strike," Singh said.
He said the body, which had last-minute meetings with senior government functionaries, including Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, decided to go ahead with the strike as it did not get any concrete assurance on its demands.
Goyal suggested the formation of a committee to look into the demands but did not offer anything substantial on the demands, Singh said, adding that principally, the body wants "concrete assurances" on its core demands.
Truckers' key demands include a reduction in central and state taxes by getting diesel under the GST so that price of the deregulated commodity can be reduced, he said.
Singh said truckers are also against the "flawed and non-transparent" toll collection system that favours road concessioners and alleged that the time and fuel loss goes up to Rs 1.5 trillion annually on account of it.
Truckers are also miffed at high insurance premia and want a reduction in third-party premium, exemption on third-party premia from GST, he said.
Apart from this, they are also pressing for exemptions and abolition indirect taxes, national permits for all buses and trucks and also doing away with the direct port delivery tendering system, he said.
-- School bus operators join strike for one day --
The School Bus and Company Bus Owners Association of Maharashtra also extended its support to the truckers strike for a day. Over 8,000 buses in Mumbai and 40,000 buses across Maharashtra are affiliated to the body.
Anil Garg, the association's president, said their call was only to show solidarity and strike was for a day only.
-- Strike impacts commercial vehicle movement in MP --
Reports from Madhya Pradesh said the movement of commercial vehicles was affected in many parts of the state.
Parvinder Singh Bhatia, president of Federation of Madhya Pradesh Motors and Goods Transport Association claimed that 95 per cent of the state's around 25,000 transporters were participating in the stir.
AIMTC Secretary General Naveen Gupta told
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