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Striking blues of crew

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Matter of luck: Only a few helpers were fortunate to get work on Friday as the truckers’ strike moved into the second day. A scene in Koyambedu.
Matter of luck: Only a few helpers were fortunate to get work on Friday as the truckers’ strike moved into the second day. A scene in Koyambedu.

Vidya Venkat

CHENNAI: Murugan slept with his head resting on the steering wheel while the cleaner Selvam, curled up beside him, yawned. As truck and lorry operators continued their strike for the second day on Friday, such scenes were not rare to witness in vehicles stranded across different parts of the city and its suburbs.

Trucks had lined up in Poonamallee, Madhavaram, Red Hills and Manali.

About 100 trucks had lined up on the roadside near Anna Arch. Several drivers from other districts were planning to go home if the strike went on for another day. Vishwa, who hailed from Vellore, said he would leave for his home town by bus by noon.

In Koyambedu, several truck drivers were stranded similarly. A few of them had formed small groups and playing cards to while away time. Others had tuned in to FM radio stations on their transistors.

But keeping off from work also meant losing money for these workers. “We drivers lose up to Rs.200 to 300 in a single day,” said Kumar, a driver.

At the Madhavaram CMDA truck terminal some 350 heavy vehicles from across the State were parked. Drivers did not have to pay rent for parking their vehicles here, though about drivers from other states were worried about when they could return.

They had decided to stay back as he had to be sure of the vehicle’s safety.

S.Abdul from Gujarat had no clue as to how long the strike would go on. “We manage to make up to Rs.10, 000 in long trips,” he said.

R.Sukumar, spokesperson for the All India Motor Transport Congress, said that about 50,000 drivers and helpers had kept off work on Friday.

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