With the nationwide indefinite strike called by the truck operators entering its second day today, the government has advised states to take all possible measures to ensure that the supply of essential commodities is not disturbed.
The suggested action plan includes invoking the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), National Securities Act (NSA) or other legal instruments, cancellation of the transport permits under Section 86 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, requisitioning trucks and lorries under the relevant legal provisions, and involving the local traders/business community.
The states have also been advised to make use of the transport vehicles to carry essential commodities without the requirement of any permit under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
The Maharashtra government has already issued a notification to this effect. The states have also been advised to make adequate arrangements at railway terminals for loading and unloading of goods transported through rail. The railway ministry too has issued instructions to all its zonal offices to ensure speedy movement of essential commodities.
However, agitating truck operators showed no signs of relenting and vowed to intensify their agitation. All-India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) President Ramesh Agarwal said, “We will surrender our permits if the situation requires. However, we are not willing to withdraw our agitation unless our demands are met.”
Even though the nationwide strike entered its second day today, there was no adverse impact on the supply of essential commodities across the country, according to the Department of Road Transport and Highways. But the strike evoked a partial response in states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab. According to AIMTC executives, nearly 6,38,000 trucks participated in the strike. The National Council for Applied Economic Research has estimated that the continuation of the strikecan push inflation by 50 basis points.