As many as 26 lakh truck owners from Maharashtra are expected to stage an indefinite strike from June 18 to protest against the increasing diesel prices in the country.
Rajinder Singh, General Secretary of the All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners Association (ACOGOA), said, “Truckers face great difficulty in dealing with the government policy of fixing the diesel prices. We are equally unhappy with the toll charges and the third party premium we are required to pay for keeping the trucks.”
Diesel prices have increased by Rs 16.82 (23 per cent) since June 2017 and increased by Rs 6/liter in January 2018 alone.
Though the strike is called nationwide, it will hit freight operations in the city. Truckers have agreed to ferry essential commodities including vegetables, food items once the strike is called.
Owners claim their operational costs have increased by almost half due to the increased prices of diesel and toll taxes. Small truck owners who own less than ten trucks are badly hit due to the issue. “Diesel consumes 60 per cent of the operational cost of trucks. In the past five months, though diesel costs have increased, freight has not,” a truck owner said.
Reddy added, “The government claims that they are forced to increase fuel prices to be within the international prices. However, when the price was $110 a barrel then diesel was Rs. 53/ per liter. The international price has fallen to $70 a barrel yet the diesel prices have only increased.”