‘Cost of operation has touched Rs. 13.50 a km ’

The All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the representative body of truck operators, has threatened to launch a nation-wide indefinite strike if the Union government fails to roll back the hike in diesel prices and third party insurance premium and revise the toll rates on highways in a month’s time.

30-day-time

“We have given a 30-day-time as any strike should be preceded by sufficient notice. With this, the Centre is given sufficient time to address our concerns even as fleet operators who operate on long routes too get adequate time to deliver consignments booked already,” AIMTC chairman G.R. Shanmugappa told The Hindu.

The AIMTC had a meeting in Mumbai on September 18 to discuss the impact of diesel prices hike over and above Rs. 5 a litre.

“This is for the first time the Centre has increased the base price of diesel,” Mr. Shanmugappa said adding that the price was increased by over Rs. 12.5 since two-and-half years.

President of the Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners’ Association B. Chenna Reddy said the cost of operation has touched Rs. 13.5 a km with the recent diesel price hike.

Truck operators have no option but to increase freight rates, thereby severely affecting the common man.

Grave mistake

Mr. Shanmugappa said the Centre committed a grave mistake by increasing the prices of diesel, which is mainly used for public transport across the country.

The hike in the third party insurance premium affected truckers considerably. It was increased up to 20 per cent with effect from April.

Toll collection

The AIMTC has been disputing the levy of toll on national highways and claiming that the licences for private partners to collect toll have been given beyond the break-even period.

Mr. Shanmugappa said while the private partners who had built the four/ six lane highways would recover the cost within five years, the toll collection licences were given for 10 to 20 years. Also, the National Highways Authority of India was collecting/ allowing of collection of excess toll on four lane highways at the rate of six lane highways.