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Toll hike for truckers frozen for a year

P. K. Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI: With the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) thrashing out an agreement with the Centre, truckers on Friday called off their three-day-old, country-wide strike, which threatened to derail goods movement. In the 10-hour talks, the truckers’ demands have by and large been met.

As for the major demand of rolling back the toll hike, Transport Secretary Brahm Dutt said: “Toll rates applicable prior to December 2007 will be applied henceforth and there will be no increase in toll for one year on government-funded 770 km national highway stretches.”

To facilitate a long-term solution on the issue of user-fee rates and related matters, a committee consisting of members from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), the Department of Road, Transport and Highways, government officials and six members from the AIMTC would be constituted.

It would come out with recommendations within a year.

Announcing the decision to call off the strike, AIMTC president Charan Singh Lohara said: “All our issues on service tax have been resolved and the provisions of the agreement reached in 2004 will be honoured.”

“Even our problems relating to speed governors and mechanical tax [applied in West Bengal, Orissa and Tamil Nadu] have also been resolved,” Mr. Lohara said.

All service tax notices sent to truckers would be withdrawn.

Finance and Revenue Secretary P.V. Bhide said the service tax agreement of 2004 would be followed.

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