Odisha Truck Owners’ Association to join nationwide strike on July 20

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Truck Owners’ Association (OTOA) has extended support to nationwide strike called by All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on July 20 to press for reduction in diesel prices, a quarterly revision of fuel prices and reduction in third party insurance premium.

Several state trucker associations including Odisha Truck Owners’ Association (OTOA) have pledged their support to the move citing indifference by the Central government towards the plight of the truck owners. Sources said around 90 lakh trucks will stay off roads across the country.

“We fully support the decision of the AIMTC and so trucks across Odisha will stay off roads from 6 AM of July 20,” said OTOA president, Bibhuti Das at press conference held in Angul.

Truck owners have been demanding reduction in diesel prices, inclusion of petrol under GST ambit, closure of toll plazas across the national highways, reduction of insurance premium, collection of TDS and streamlining of port congestion and several other demands.

AIMTC president SK Mittal said truckers have been unable to run their businesses due to high costs and less governmental assistance.

“We have been unable to pay the taxes at toll gates and suffering due to hike in diesel rates. More than 71 percent of our operational costs are due to diesel and toll payments while the rest includes maintenance costs, salary of the staffs and lots of other cost expenses,” said Mittal.

Mittal further stated that government should supply diesel at subsidized rates just like they have been promoting the industries with 30 per cent subsidy in Uttarakhand.

“Our main demand is that the government should put an end to skyrocketing of diesel prices. When the crude rates were less in international markets, neither the truckers nor the general public got any benefits. High amount of Excise taxes has been levied on us. The insurance premium has also been hiked by more than 50 per cent in the last three years,” he said.