On 27 July 2018 | Logistics Junction

The Saga of India’s Transport Strike

On July 20, 2018, the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), which calls itself the apex body of transport companies in India, announced an indefinite nationwide transport strike, putting a stop to transport services all over the country. A large part of the 14 lakh vehicles transporting goods and essential commodities across Maharashtra went off the roads, slowly affecting commodity prices and the daily routine of its citizens.

The strike went into motion after the AIMTC claimed that the government has not been listening to the demands of transporter companies, which indicated two months ago that if their demands were not met they would go ahead with a nationwide strike.

The main requirements of the AIMTC are as follows:

  • Taxing diesel prices at 18% under the goods and service tax (GST) instead of different taxes in each state.
  • Reviewing and revising fuel prices once every three months instead of every day.
  • Removing toll booths across state borders for smooth operations across the country after calling the toll system “flawed” and alleging that waiting at toll booths results in an annual loss of Rs. 1.5 trillion.
  • Reducing the high-insurance premiums paid by transporters.

Transporters nationwide are experiencing the growing burden of taxes and penalties, which they cannot pass on to their consumers because contracts are signed months in advance. This rising burden is at the root of the transport strike, which promises to stay in effect unless the Centre takes affirmative action to resolve the grievances of the AIMTC.

Day 1: States across the country geared up for the strike of transport vehicles including trucks, cabs, buses, and tourist vehicles. Deemed a warm-up day with mixed responses to the strike, the loss to the transport sector was to the tune of Rs. 4,000 crores. Transportation services between ports, harbors, and industries that supply consumer goods, petrochemicals, steel, cement, and the like were stopped.

Day 2: On Saturday, trucks in transit, including those transporting essential commodities within the city, also joined the strike. The School Bus and Company Bus Owners Association of Maharashtra also showed their support to the strike by not plying that day, affecting the routine of thousands of school-going children and Mumbaikars.

Day 3: The strike continued with the hope of getting hold of government officials with whom the AIMTC’s grievances could be discussed. Unfortunately, no discussions were held and the decision to intensify the strike was made.

Day 4: As transport vehicles continued to stay off the roads, citizens of the state began to feel the pinch of rising prices due to poor supply of important items like vegetables, milk, and medicines.

Day 5: The transport sector faced losses to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore, losing about Rs 4,000 crore per day. The chairman of the AIMTC emphasized that the strike would continue unless the center heard their demands. Vehicles transporting essential goods were exempted from the strike.

Day 6 : The transporters' loss stood at Rs 28,000 crore .Automobile industry sources said the stir has affected supplies of parts and districution of vehicles, forcing companies like Tata Motors, Ford India and Skoda to adjust Production. 

Day 7: The transporters' loss stood at Rs 30,000 crore by the seventh day . In Maharashtra , the losses were estimated to be Rs. 5000 crores.Even Retail has started getting effected since dispatches of finished vehicles to dealers are getting affected. Nearly 93 lakh trucks across India and 16 lakh in Maharashtra were off roads.

Day 8: The Nationwide Transportation Strike Called off!! On Thursday night, the transporters association had held talks with Union Minister, Nitin Gadkari, regarding the demands laid out by the transporters, the discussions were concluded to be positive and their demands stand accepted with respect to solutions on the front of increase in diesel prices, hefty insurance premiums, E-way bill & GST burden, port congestions and reduction in toll for school buses.