Truckers’ Strike Enters 9th Day
As the indefinite strike launched by 16 truck and tipper owners’ associations in Koida and Joda mining circles of Sundargarh and Keonjhar districts over freight rates entered ninth day on Tuesday, Government’s revenue loss has mounted to around `74 crores.
An eight-member delegation comprising representatives of four associations from both districts and the Odisha Truck Owners’ Federation on Monday discussed the issue with Transport Minister RC Majhi at Bhubaneswar. Tipper Owners’ Association-Rourkela (TOAR) president BR Beura said the Minister impressed upon them that the Government’s notification over uniform freight rate would take some time.
The delegation suggested to the Minister to end the present crisis by allowing old freight rate till finalisation of Government notification. Beura said the Minister assured them of directing the collectors of both districts to hold meeting of all stakeholders to break the stand-off.
Convener of 12 associations in Sundargarh district, Bijay Pradhan, said if no solution is found in a couple of days, the association members in both districts would intensify the agitation by resorting to hunger strike.
Pradhan attributed the present impasse to the monopolistic and profit-making attitude of transport agencies of mines and industries who resorted to drastic cut in present freight rates after learning about the Government’s move of rationalising transport costs.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Mines (DDM) of Joda mining circle in Keonjhar district SK Nayak said the royalty loss of the State exchequer has mounted to around `54 crores in nine days. While SAIL and TISCO mines in Keonjhar having dedicated rail tracks remain unaffected, daily dispatch of about one lakh tonnes of iron ore and other minerals has been paralysed.
Similarly, the estimated revenue loss from Koida mining circle in Sundargarh is about `20 crores. Daily dispatch of above 40,000 tonnes of minerals from all mines including that of SAIL is affected.