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90 Lakh Truckers Begin Chakka Jam Against GST; Food Supply May be Hit

Truckers protest primarily is against the disruptive policies under Goods and Services Tax (GST). They also want the inclusion of diesel in the new indirect tax's ambit.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:October 9, 2017, 11:28 AM IST
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90 Lakh Truckers Begin Chakka Jam Against GST; Food Supply May be Hit
The All India Motor Transport Congress claims there is confusion over various policies imposed on the transport sector/Representative Image
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New Delhi: Over 90 lakh truckers will participate in a two-day nation-wide Chakka Jam from Monday to protest issues ranging from “disruptive” impact of the Goods and Services Tax to the “extortion” at RTO barriers in states.

The decision to protest was taken as last minute negotiations with the government did not materialise, Harish Sabharwal, Additional Vice President (North) of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), told News18.com.

Supplies of commodities, including food, are likely to be affected due to the proposed token strike.

"We are going on a nationwide Chakka Jam today and tomorrow. Negotiations with the government did not yield any results as they did not agree to our demands. The truckers will suffer a loss of Rs 2,000 crore. We are compelled to suffer this loss," said Sabharwal, who is also a member in the Road Safety Council of the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways.

Sabharwal said small-time truck drivers have been making "frantic calls to the association since morning."

"Our means of protest is to stop our own vehicles and suffer losses. Small truck drivers and people associated with the job cycle have also been rattled, but we will soon go an indefinite strike if the government turns a blind eye to our demands," an AIMTC member told News18.com.

Their protest primarily is against the disruptive policies under Goods and Services Tax (GST). They also want the inclusion of diesel in the new indirect tax's ambit.

The AIMTC claims there is confusion over various policies imposed on the transport sector. Dealers have claimed that they are forced to do “coercive registration and unnecessary compliance” due to GST in taxes where they were earlier exempted.

The AIMTC says the proposed E-Way Bill does not factor in all road transport issues and must be amended.

Sabharwal had earlier told News18.com that after the implementation of the GST, most states have not removed the RTO barrier as expected, resulting in “extortion”, which has in turn caused a "loss of over Rs 80,000 crore” in bribes.

"Truckers are bearing a loss of Rs 80,000 crore as bribes to various RTO barriers which have not ceased post GST. Only four states out of 22 have agreed to remove RTO barriers. GST has been an utter failure where the government is itself confused about the tax regime. We have been bombarded with three different tax slabs," said Sabharwal.

The truckers have also demanded that since diesel, along with toll, accounts for more than 70% of the cost of operations for a trucker, "diesel prices must be slashed and be brought under GST to create a uniformity in pricing”.

One of the other key demands of AIMTC is that a special investigation team having their representation at the state level be constituted to probe into and address issues of corruption with ITOs, CTOs, RTOs.

The AIMTC has sought that "challans must be prohibited" if there is no electronically verifiable proof by the official concerned to validate whether he or she actually belongs to the Road Transport Office.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
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