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Truckers' stir: TN government buses to carry farm produce free of charge
The state government on Saturday announced that transport corporations could use the government buses to carry agricultural produce at no cost.
The announcement comes even while the nationwide lorry strike continued for the second day on Saturday resulting in a loss of Rs 600 crore in Tamil Nadu. A total of about 68 lakh lorries are not operating. The strike began throughout the country by the truckers to press their charter of demands which include reduction of diesel prices.
Several lakh workers, including daily wage labhourers, drivers and cleaners remain without jobs and lorry owners have already lost revenue. Only milk, water and vegetables are being allowed to move, while tankers carrying petrol too have been exempted from the strike.
In Tamil Nadu alone, 4.5 lakh lorries have been stopped and Rs 300 crore worth stock has stagnated without delivery. Throughout the country, it is estimated that Rs 10,000 crore worth goods have stagnated at different places. In Namakkal region alone, five crore eggs worth Rs 10 crore remain without any transport. Only 2.5 crore eggs could be stored in cold storage in Namakkal, according to the manufacturers who requested lorry owners to provide exemption to eggs like that provided for milk.
A Coimbatore report said goods worth Rs 500 crore remained stagnant in godowns and manufacturing units in nearby districts due to the strike. About 10,000 lorries were off the roads in Coimbatore affecting movement of textile and textile products, motors, pumps, grinders, engineering products. In Tirupur district, a knitwear hub, readymade garments that needs to be shipped to serve domestic and overseas market were lying in factories. Tirupur Exporters’ Association President Raja M Shanmugham said the strike has hit knitwear exporting units and sought the Centre’s intervention to end the stir. About five lakh kg of tea were lying in various godowns in Udhagamandalam and Coonoor for want of transport.
The lorry owners are scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday and announce the next step. So far about two crore people have been affected including one crore workers. Most of the goods from other states like lentils, garlic and apples are yet to reach Tamil Nadu. Most of the 4,500 lorries in Chennai are parked in Madhavaram in the city.
Vegetables from other states did not reach Koyambedu market for the second day and only mini lorries are being used to carry the vegetables from other places to the market. If the lorry strike continue, the prices of vegetables and fruits could go up and the prices of other essential commodities too would shoot up.