Diesel price rise halts trucks in tracks
About 1.6 lakh of the 6.5 lakh goods vehicles in Karnataka have ground to a halt after Diesel price hit a record high over the past fortnight.
Bengaluru: About 1.6 lakh of the 6.5 lakh goods vehicles in Karnataka have ground to a halt after Diesel price hit a record high over the past fortnight. Transporters say skyrocketing fuel prices have rendered their business unviable, while its cascading effect across sectors has pushed up commodity prices.
“The unbridled rise in fuel prices is severely hitting the transport business. Vehicle owners have stopped taking order as the business has become unviable,”said G R Shanmugappa, president of the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents’ Association, adding: “The government should consider this as an emergency and look for immediate corrective measures.”
On Friday, diesel was being sold at Rs. 72.46 a litre, while petrol was being sold at Rs. 81.14, just 86 paise less than its highest ever price of Rs 82 in 2012.
Shanmugappa said the cost of transportation for truckers has increased from the average Rs 25 per km to Rs 30 in the last 15 days alone, thanks to spiralling fuel prices, while they aren’t getting more than Rs 28 per km as fare from customers.
The situation in other states is even worse, where diesel prices are much higher compared to Karnataka. An office bearer of All-India Motor Transport Congress said more than 35 lakh of the 95.4 lakh trucks in India are off road. The southern states put together have around 26 lakh trucks, of which more than eight lakh are not plying.
“Even vehicles on the road are not being run to the full extent. The distant covered by them has come down from the monthly average of 6,000 km to 3,000 km,” said Shanmugappa.
He said the transport congress is planning to convene an emergency meeting to chalk out a plan of action and truckers may go on strike in support of their demand that petrol and diesel be brought under GST, so that they are cheaper.
Makers of diesel generator sets hit Diesel generator (DG) set manufacturers say their demand has fallen by 10% in the past fortnight owing to fuel price hike and they fear worse days ahead. “Diesel is the main fuel for captive generation of power and increase in its price taken a toll on manufacturers of DG sets,” said S Sampathram chairman and managing director of of DPK Genset Engineers Pvt. Ltd., one of the largest genset manufacturers in south India.