As the strike by operators of construction equipment vehicles entered the second day, major construction activities, including that of Namma Metro, practically came to a halt on Wednesday.

The strike was called by the Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners' Association in protest against the State Government's proposal to levy lifetime tax (10 per cent of the sale value) on construction-related vehicles such as mobile cranes and forklifts.

The Government did not hear operators' repeated plea to revert to the earlier quarterly payment of tax system, said federation president B. Channa Reddy.

Parked cranes

Scores of cranes, said to be hired by contractors undertaking Namma Metro work, were seen parked on either side of Old Madras Road near Byappanahalli since Tuesday night.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation's spokesperson said they would wait and watch through Wednesday night and a decision would be taken thereafter.

Namma Metro's contractors transport heavy equipment, machinery and construction material only at night to avoid inconveniencing the people and prevent accidents.

There are about 18,000 construction vehicles in the State. Hundreds of such vehicles have been rented out to works related to Bangalore Metro, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (BWSSB), Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Upping the ante

In a press release issued here on Wednesday, Mr. Reddy alleged that officials of the Transport Department have been seizing vehicles not on duty and handing them over to the police.

The strike, he said, will continue till the Government fulfils the operators' demands.

Unauthorised parking

While the stretch of Old Madras Road where the cranes have been parked is a no parking zone, the traffic police have not initiated any action against the errant drivers.

No obstruction

The police said as there was no obstruction to regular traffic movement, they had not initiated any immediate action. However, they have asked the operators to remove the vehicles by Thursday, the police said.

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