The truck operators of the state have demanded a waiver in their loan EMIs and have resolved to pay their installments only up to rupees one lakh, due till the month of October, to their financiers, claiming that the transport sector is going through a critical phase.

Members of the All India Motor Transport Congress have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union minister of road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, major banks and Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), informing them about their condition and asking them to issue an advisory on the matter through the Reserve Bank of India.

“The transport sector is going through a bad phase throughout the country,” said Sajal Ghosh, joint secretary of the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators Associations (FWBTOA). “Of all the industries, the transport sector is the worst hit. The industry is crippled with poor income and the operators are facing difficulties in running their businesses. In such scenario, paying the full EMI amount is becoming difficult for us. On failure of EMI payment, the financiers are taking back the vehicles from the operators,” alleged Mr Ghosh.

He added, “We have communicated to the authorities about our inability to pay the full EMIs as we are already facing difficulties in running our trade. We have requested them to allow us a waiver in the EMIs and let us pay only the principal part, up to rupees one lakh due till the month of October.”

The operators, according to the members of FWBTOA, have given time till 31 March, after which they have decided to intensify their protest.

Notably, the truck operators had called an indefinite strike in the month of August in which around 6 lakh trucks remained off the roads, throwing trade and commerce in the business hubs in several parts of Kolkata out of gear.

The truck owners and operators had called the strike demanding a 25 per cent increase in the maximum Safe Axle Weight for goods vehicles and were protesting against alleged police atrocities.