Truck owners in rate hike tussle
The mining transportation industry in the state is facing a rather piquant situation. With the exception of Vedanta, no other mining companies having started fresh excavation of mining ore in the state, and with the truck owners’ association demanding a hike in transportation rates from the mining firms, the ore transportation activities that were to be resumed post monsoon could be further delayed, sources in the industry said.
At a couple of meetings held recently in Dharbandora and Sanvordem – the mining dominated constituencies – the truck owners lobby warned that no trucks will be engaged in mining transportation activities unless the transportation rates are hiked. While the current rate is Rs 9.5 per tonne per km, they have demanded that it be hiked to anything between Rs 14 and Rs 17. Ironically, small time transportation businessmen, having just one or two trucks, are facing the brunt of the tussle between the truck owners association and the mining firms.
“I have two trucks, both of which have been lying idle for the last several years. I have spent a couple of lakhs of rupees on the repairs of my trucks, buying insurance, and RTO documentation. I am doomed if the trucks do not get engaged in business this season, too,” Yogesh Naik from Sanvordem said.
Vinayak Gauns, president of Dharbandora truck owners association, who is also the deputy sarpanch of Dharbandora panchayat, speaking to TOI, said that the truck owners were “unanimous and firm” on their demand. “No rate hike, no transport,” Gauns said.
Sanvordem MLA Dipak Pauskar is sympathetic to the demands of the truck owners. “The demand is just. I have raised the issue with the chief minister. If the situation demands, I will hold a meeting with the mining firms to resolve the issue,” Pauskar told TOI.