Truckers’ strike affects mineral transportation

Bhubaneswar: Mineral transportation came to a grinding halt in Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts today as the transporters’ strike in protest of the new pricing mechanism entered its third day. Meanwhile, the State government has said it would soon resolve the issue.

The truck and tipper operators in the two districts have gone on strike over freight rate dispute among vehicle operators and transporters of various sponge iron industries.

Around 30,000 trucks and tippers in the two mineral rich districts have been on strike protesting against State government’s move to fix a ceiling on transport cost and award of transportation contracts through the e-tendering process.

The strike has led to a halt in despatching about 2 lakh tonne of iron ore per day. The State receives about Rs 12 crore per day towards royalty.

“The Transport commissioner has submitted a report and freight rate would be fixed soon,” Commerce and Transport minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi told mediapersons.

Notably, in a bid to curb willful unruliness of transport agencies in mineral transport, the State government has decided to introduce a ceiling price for transportation charges last month. Any violation of the ceiling will attract cancellation of the transport licence of the erring transporting agency as per the new pricing mechanism.

Mines director Deepak Mohanty asserted that the transport agencies or truck owners would be forced to accept the ceiling price. The government took this decision after realising that different mineral transporter make charges as per their whims which ultimately affected the price of ore due to high transportation price, he added.