Threat to stop supply of essentials

HYDERABAD APRIL 15. The indefinite strike called by the All-India Transport Congress entered the second day on Tuesday with the State Transport Joint Action Committee threatening to stop the supply of essential commodities like milk, vegetables and water also from April 17 onwards.

"The Government has failed to seriously address the issues of the transport community and there has been no positive response,'' said Iqbal Hussain, convener of the committee, even while regretting ``some inconvenience'' caused to the common man.

He said that the bandh was total in the coastal areas, especially in Krishna, Guntur, East and West Godavari districts. It was also observed in Chittoor, Anantapur, Kurnool and was said to have been supported by drivers and associated work force in the Telangana region.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, and two of his Cabinet colleagues — C. Muthyam Reddy (Civil Supplies) and M. Damodar Reddy (Transport) — said the Government had taken adequate steps for mitigating the hardship of people on account of the lorry strike.

The Chief Minister told reporters that movement of essential commodities was ensured and that he was monitoring the situation. He would review the matter again tomorrow and come out with further steps required, if any.

The Ministers told a separate press conference that the Government would ensure that prices of essential commodities like vegetables and rice did not go up and that it was monitoring the price situation on a daily basis.

They said task force/committees had been formed at the district level, headed by the Collectors to ensure that the rates of essential commodities didn't go up and to see that they were supplied to people. Officials of the departments of Civil Supplies, Transport, Marketing and Municipal Administration were represented on the task force/committees.

The Ministers said there were sufficient stocks in districts to last three or four days. To make sure that they reached people local transporters were making available vehicles. Besides, the Public Distribution System had been geared up.

Regarding petrol and diesel, they stated that tankers of the oil companies were being arranged. If required, police escort would be provided to these vehicles.

Mr. Muthyam Reddy stated that since the rates of vegetable were showing a rising trend, particularly that of tomato, steps were being taken to store sufficient quantity.

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