Truckers’ stir: State invokes ESMA

Bhubaneswar: Terming the mineral transporters’ agitation ‘illegal’, the State government has imposed Odisha Essential Services (Maintenance) Act or ESMA for six months, Home special secretary Lalit Das said today.

Notably, 16 truck and tipper owners’ associations operating in Koida and Joda mining circles of Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts have launched an indefinite strike since July 20 over freight rates.

The Steel and Mines department had recommended the Home department to invoke ESMA after the truckers began the stir.

Source said due to halt in mineral transportation as a result of the stir, the State government is losing crores of rupees daily and the mines production and royalty are taking a hit.

An eight-member delegation comprising representatives of four associations from both the districts and the Odisha Truck Owners’ Federation on Monday discussed the issue with Transport minister Ramesh Majhi.

Source said the delegation suggested the minister to end the present crisis by allowing the old freight rate till finalization of government notification.