Members of the Tiruchi District Lorry Owners Association would participate fully in the strike called by the South India Motor Transport Welfare Association demanding a downward revision of the toll on national highways, rationalisation of diesel and tyre prices.
About 10,800 goods vehicles, including trucks and trailers, would participate in the strike commencing Thursday midnight, R.K.Prabakaran, secretary, Tiruchi District Lorry Owners Association, told The Hindu. The district association is part of the Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Association. Around 2,000 trucks from the district operate inter-state.
Asked about the statement given out by office-bearers of an association in Chennai stating that they would not participate in the strike, Mr.Prabakaran said the organisation was a breakaway group and did not have much support at the State or district level. The strike would be total and all goods operators would participate in the strike, Mr.Prabakaran said.
Mr.Prabakaran affirmed that freight operations have already come to a standstill in the district on Thursday evening except for bookings on short distance within 100 km. Trucks carrying consignments for short distance such as Thanjavur, Viralimalai and a few other places were operating from Tiruchi so that they can return or unload the consignments by midnight. All other trucks have already been pulled off the roads, he said.
The strike could seriously affect movement of goods, including transport of heavy engineering and power plant equipment fabricated in Tiruchi. Traders in the markets in the city said though they do not expect an immediate impact on vegetable arrivals, the strike could have an impact if it were to be prolonged. However, prices are likely to shoot up on account of the strike, they conceded. Meanwhile, Collector Jayashree Muralidharan convened a meeting with senior officials on Wednesday night to discuss the arrangements to be made to facilitate the movement of essential commodities in view of the strike. The meeting discussed measures to be initiated to transport the commodities to ration shops and petroleum products to retail outlets. Officers were instructed to provide adequate security to vehicles transporting essential commodities and those not participating in the strike.
DRO P.Manickam, Airport Controller S.Dharamaraj, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) S.Ramaiah, and other officials attended the meeting.