Truckers go on strike seeking 'toll free' India
Truckers proceeded on a nationwide indefinite-strike this morning at the call of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) to protest against the present toll system. This came after talks between the government and AIMTC delegation failed as the truckers' body said the offer of electronic-toll system by December was not practical. Essential commodities like milk, vegetables and medicine were kept off the strikes' purview.
AIMTC threatens 'Chakkajam'
Demanding transparent toll system with provision for annual payment, AIMTC said it would go on strike if their concerns were not addressed by August 25. AIMTC called the toll policy "unjust, non-transparent and unreasonable", and in favour of private developers. AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa said, "We have demanded collection of one-time toll annually on the pattern of national permit and relaxation in the TDS."
What is AIMTC?
All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) is the apex body of transporters - both cargo and passenger and claim to represent 93 lakh truckers and 50 lakh bus operators.
Indefinite strike from 1 Oct
AIMTC threatened to go on indefinite nationwide strike from October 1, alleging that government failed to address their issues. "We had met Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari yesterday, but to no avail. We are now left with no other option than to take this extreme step," AIMTC President said. He added that such a nationwide strike would incur losses of Rs.1,500-1,700 crore per day.
AIMTC firm, despite Centre's appeal
AIMTC on Sep 25, said that they were firm about going on indefinite strike from October 1, despite Centre's appeal to it to desist from agitation. On Sep 24, Union Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber had appealed them to not go on strike.
Gadkari says government is open to talks
Ahead of the proposed transport strike, government said it was serious about resolving issues and asked the transporters to join talks instead of "hampering their as well as nation's interest". Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said, "We also want they do not face any problems at toll plazas... My appeal is to them that instead of a strike, they furnish me with suggestions. "
What is Electronic Toll Collection?
Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) enables road users to pay highway tolls electronically without stopping at toll plazas. Ministry of Road Transport & Highways rolled out ETC program under the brand name "FASTag". The unique number of RFID FASTag affixed on the wind shield of vehicles will be read by readers fitted in dedicated 'ETC' lanes of plazas and the toll will be deducted automatically.