OTHERS

Supplies marginally affected

With trucks being off the road in response to a strike call given by the All-India Motor Transport Congress, carts were in demand in Bangalore on Saturday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash  

BANGALORE, AUG. 21. Most lorries went off the road in the State today following a strike call given by the All-India Motor Transport Congress in protest against the imposition of 10 per cent service tax on transporters.

Even though supply of industrial goods was affected, people did not feel the impact of the nation-wide indefinite strike by truckers.

Lorry owners took part in the strike ignoring the call given by the Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners Associations, led by B. Chenna Reddy. The newly-formed Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents' Association, led by G.R. Shanmugappa, had asked truckers to take part in the strike.

Though the new federation had exempted movement of essential commodities such as vegetables, milk, and petroleum products, and the removal of garbage from the strike, there was a marginal impact on supply of fruits and vegetables.

Fruit prices up

Traders said supply of vegetables and fruits was affected at Signena Agrahara, where a wholesale fruit market started functioning recently, and at major vegetable markets at RMC Yard and Kalasipalyam. Mr. Shivashankar of Aiyappa Fruits, a stall at Singena Agrahara, said pineapple prices had gone up by Re. 1 apiece in view of the truckers' strike.

Abhimal of V.M. Ambu Stores at Benson Town said supply of vegetables was "more or less" steady. But the prices of onion and potato had gone up from Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 a kg. Supply of milk and petroleum products remained unaffected. Garbage disposal lorries were on the road.

Goods Tempos also remained off the road.

Though the lorries supplying construction material could be seen on the road, they too are expected to go off the road from Sunday, according to sources in the new federation.

`Bad for small units'

The Karnataka Small-scale Industries Association pointed out that the goods and commodities had already started piling up at the godowns of factories because of the strike. The association's general secretary, P. Prithvi Raj, said the strike would badly hit the small-scale units which were "already plagued by a multitude of problems."

Daily production would be greatly affected and delivery schedules upset. Delay in exports would damage the image of the Indian industries, he said.

The strike has adversely hit several drivers and cleaners of lorries and loaders in major markets across the State.

Their number is roughly estimated at 10 lakh. About 1.5 lakh lorries and other goods vehicles were off the road in the State.