Staff Reporter

MADURAI: Madurai Lorry Owners' Association will go on a 24-hour strike from 6 a.m. on Tuesday in protest against revision of prices of petrol and diesel. The association has asked the State Government to reduce the 30 per cent sales tax imposed on diesel by at least half to avoid the price hike.

Its president C. Sathiah said over 2,500 lorries, including 500 national permit trucks, would go off the roads. Ever since the United Progressive Government assumed office, petroleum prices had been increased six times, resulting in 15 per cent raise in freight charge. "It has hit the common man hard as the prices of essential commodities have sharply risen following increase in freight charges for raw materials," Mr. Sathiah said.

The price revision could be prevented if customs and excise duties for the petroleum products were revised as suggested by the Left parties, he said.

Besides, the State Government, which was presently charging Rs. 10.55 as sales tax on every litre of diesel, should bring it down by 50 per cent.

Sales tax on petroleum products had already been reduced in Kerala and Karnataka. Lorry operators, he said, were unable to revise transport charges any further owing to increasing competition.

The Centre should roll back the price revision or else the All-India Motor Transport Congress would decide to go on an indefinite strike, he said.