The Cabinet Secretary met senior officials to review the situation emanating from the nationwide truckers strike that entered the sixth day and showed no signs of ending soon.
The meeting called by K M Chandrasekhar was attended by Secretaries of Ministry of Road and Surface Transport,Defence,Railways,I&B and Petroleum,official sources said,adding that various options to deal with the situation were discussed.
Besides,Deputy National Security Advisor and IB officials were present at the meeting. The review meeting comes in the wake of continued stand-off between transporters and the government even as one more state Madhya Pradesh invoked ESMA against the strikers.
Delhi,Uttar Pradesh,Andhra Pradesh,Gujarat,Rajasthan and Goa invoked ESMA earlier this week.
The Centre has already announced plans to run 15-20 lakh vehicles in the next few days for uninterrupted supply of essential commodities. These would be arranged by impounding trucks and allowing other private vehicles for transportation of commodities without permit.
Transporters,on the other hand,have said they will not negotiate with the government until AIMTC members arrested yesterday are released.
“We will intensify our stir. There is no question of calling off our strike. There shall be no talks until the arrested leaders are unconditionally released without any cases against them,” an AIMTC top brass told PTI,who did not wish to be identified.
Truckers brave arrests,strike enters sixth day
The stalemate between the government and truckers continued for the sixth day on Saturday despite the arrest of two top leaders of All India Motor Transport Congress.
“We are incurring heavy losses in running our business hence strike will continues until the government gives us some solutions,said AIMTC Vice-President Amolak Singh Bhatia.
While Transport Minister T R Baalu had announced to act tough against the truckers,the unrelenting transporters said that ‘coercive’ measures will not deter them and the strike would continue till the time their demands are fulfilled.
“The government is committed to take every necessary steps to ensure smooth supplies…We have advised states to transport essential commodities so that the common man does not suffer,” the minister said on Friday.
The AIMTC received a setback on Friday after the arrest of its President Charan Singh Lohara and Secretary S Venugopal along with 30 other leaders by the Delhi police under the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA).
In a counter offensive,the truckers had announced to intensify their stir. “There shall be no talks until the arrested leaders are unconditionally released without any cases against them,” AIMTC had said.
The government had already announced its plans to press 15-20 lakh vehicles and impounding of trucks to ensure supply of essential commodities,especially food stock.
Home Minister P Chidambaram,who had described the strike as “against the interest of people”,said the Centre was in touch with the states to evolve a solution as many of the demands of the truckers pertained to the states only.