The ongoing nation-wide truckers' strike has disrupted the supply of essential commodities across the country. Among the worst affected are the firms that deal in daily-use items such as vegetables, fruit and dairy products. According to a report in the Economic Times, Amazon has sent text messages to its customers saying that "it is doing its best to get delayed packages delivered at the earliest".
The report suggests that the various FMCG firms such as Britannia, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle and Dabur are beginning to face the supply disruption at their plants. Biscuit maker Pladis have halted production starting Tuesday, the report said.
All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) started a nationwide indefinite strike on July 20. Their demands include a reduction in central and state taxes by getting diesel under the GST so that price of the deregulated commodity can be reduced.
Apart from demanding reduction in fuel prices, truckers are also against the "flawed and non-transparent" toll collection system that favours road concessioners and alleged that the time and fuel loss goes up to Rs 1.5 trillion annually on account of it. AIMTC claims that about 93 lakh trucks are affiliated to the body.
On Tuesday, Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Shailesh Patwari said that the strike has adversely affected Gujarat's textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemical and ceramic industry. "Movement of raw materials and finished goods have got hit. Export orders expiring, which is affecting our prestige in the international markets."
He further said that the "exporters have a major issue as they are finding it hard to comply with orders and orders taken for ceramics, pharmaceuticals, chemical and textiles are expiring. Foreign competitors will benefit at our cost".
In a letter to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Saurashtra Oil Mills Association yesterday said that the "local industries in Saurashtra region are entirely dependent upon transporters for availing raw materials and dispatch of finished goods." "If some sort of consensus is not arrived soon, the situation of industries will become very precarious, as they are already facing a tough time," it said.
Mukesh Dave of Akhil Gujarat Truck Transport Association said that nearly 75-80 per cent of around 9.3 lakh vehicles in the state are off the road due to strike. "Around 75-80 per cent of small and big trucks are off road. However, we have not forced trucks carrying essential items to stop operation as this will affect common man," Dave said.
Truckers are miffed at high insurance premia and want a reduction in third-party premium, exemption on third-party premia from GST. Apart from this, they are also pressing for exemptions and abolition of indirect taxes, national permits for all buses and trucks and also doing away with the direct port delivery tendering system.
(With inputs from PTI)