New Delhi | Truckers called up a nationwide indefinite strike this morning on the call of All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) to protest against the present toll system. Transporters went on indefinite strike after talks between the government and AIMTC delegation failed as the truckers body said the offer of electronic toll system by December was not practical and could not be accomplished.
However, essential commodities like milk, vegetables and medicine have been kept off the purview of strike. AIMTC is demanding scrapping of toll system terming it a tool of harassment and one time payment of taxes besides simplification of Tax Duducted at source (TDS).
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari yesterday offered electronic toll system pan-India by December to address their concerns but made it clear that scrapping of toll system is not possible. However, AIMTC President Bhim Wadhwa said electronic toll system offered by the Highways Minister is no solution as e-tolling project of the government is a failed concept, even their pilot project has failed too.The partnering banks viz. ICICI and Axis Bank too has distanced itself from the project. Wadhwa said one of their demands is TDS provisions on transport trade to Pre-Finance Act 2015 and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has assured them to call a meeting with Chairman,The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).The strike is likely to cause Rs 1,500 crore losses to truckers and over Rs 10,000 crore loss to government on a daily basis, Wadhwa said.
Another body All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) has not joined the strike, Wadhwa said. AIMTC was the apex body and represented about 87 lakh trucks and 20 lakh buses and tempos.Gadkari yesterday held a detailed meeting with AIMTC delegation and appealed them to call off the strike assuring an electronic toll collection system by December at all 325 toll plazas.
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