Truckers Lose Crores Due to Rains
Torrential rains have taken a heavy toll on the logistics industry with the movement of trucks in and around the city almost coming to a halt due to badly damaged highways and industries downing their shutters.
Industry sources estimate that truck owners now incur loses to the tune of more than Rs30 crore every day. The incessant rains have also damaged the heavy vehicles, which are parked at truck terminals and on the National Highways. In addition, Rs450 crores in the form of taxes paid to the government is lost due to stranded trucks.
According to R Sugumar, president of the Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation, since Diwali, the movement of trucks has been at a standstill in the Northern and coastal districts of the State – including Chennai. “Most of the National Highways like Chennai-Nellore, Chennai-Bangalore, Chennai-Thanjavur and the road linking the Chennai to Karaikal have been severely affected. This has crippled the movement of lorries,” he said.
Claiming that truckers from Tamil Nadu ferry goods to the tune of Rs5,000 crore on a daily basis to the rest of the country, he said that 30 per cent of the above amount was freight charges.
“Now, industries in the rain-affected areas are shut, while sufficient workers are not turning up for duty in some units. This has an adverse impact on production and the net result is no business for us,” Sugumar reasoned.
He urged the National Highway authorities to repair the road immediately, while adding that the State Government must waive the quarterly taxes to help the industry under stress due to the flood. Agreeing with him, an employee of the federation said that 60 per cent of trucks are off the road.
“There are 5.25 lakh trucks in Tamil Nadu and 60 per cent of them are not plying. We have suffered loses of Rs150-Rs200 crore in the last few days,” said K Nalathambi, president of the State Lorry Owners Federation of Tamil Nadu. Truckers also fear that heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh may worsen the situation.
When contacted, sources from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said that steps are being taken to repair the affected highways. “As far as the Chennai-Nellore highway is concerned, we are trying to recover it from the contractor, who is responsible for maintenance, and repair it,” said an official who requested anonymity.