Tuesday, January 06, 2009

India truck strike over fuel cost

File picture of trucks in India
Truckers are also protesting against toll taxes

A transport strike is beginning to bite in India with operators pulling millions of trucks off the roads to demand a lowering of diesel prices.

The operators are also protesting against "steep" road tolls imposed by the government.

Talks with the government broke down over the weekend and up to six million trucks went off the roads as the indefinite strike began on Monday.

A prolonged strike could push up costs of essential goods, analysts say.

Inflation

Truck operators say they have been hit hard by the rising oil prices and the economic slowdown.

"We are on an indefinite strike until our demands are met," news agency Reuters quoted Charan Singh Lohara, president of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), as saying.

The organisation says it represents six million trucks in India.

"The government is giving concessions and bailout packages to so many industries. Why not us when we are struggling to repay loans with high fuel prices, high prices of tyres and numerous taxes?" he asked.

It is too early for the strike to have had any firm impact, but if the protest continues, prices of essential goods are likely to rise, correspondents say.

Indian consumers are yet to recover from last year's high inflation figures which reached double digits a few months ago before coming down in the past few weeks.

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