Supply of essential commodities including perishable items like eggs, fish and medicines to Bengal is all set to be affected badly in local retail and wholesale markets hardly a week ahead of Durga Puja in the state.
With call of a three-daylong truckers’ strike organised by the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators’ Association (FWBTOA), the largest body of around 4.5 lakh truckers in the eastern region, from today around four lakh small and big trucks items have stopped moving across districts in the state.
“We have called the three-day-long truckers’ strike from today to protest against the Mamata Banerjee government’s indifference to meet up our two demands – implement safe axel loading and stop overloading of goods – in our state.
The state chief secretary and transport secretary had called me up on Sunday urging to withdraw the strike.
But we will continue our pre-scheduled programme till the chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee does not sit with us to solve our grievances,” Subhas Chandra Bose, secretary of FWBTOA, told The Statesman today.
“Around four lakh trucks have stopped loading and unloading of goods lying parked along roads and highways in different districts. Following the Central government’s approval all states except Bengal have allowed extra 25 per cent of total loading capacity of trucks. Here in our state, administrations along with political leaders are forcing truck operators for overloading instead of safe axel loading.
Political leaders’ interest in overloading of goods is to mint money in crores of rupees from our pockets,” Mr Bose alleged.
“Trucks with safe axel loading can enter into our state from outside but we are the truckers in Bengal we are not allowed to enjoy this facility approved by the Centre. As a result, we are incurring huge financial loss every month.
During this COVID-19 pandemic situation many states have waived road tax for truckers but here in Bengal the state government is silent on this issue,” he said threatening, “We will call strike again for an indefinite period after the Puja.”
Supply of essential items vegetables, fish, eggs, onions etc imported from other states will dry in local markets in districts and Kolkata from tomorrow, feared a vendor at Koley Market at Sealdah.
Around 500 trucks carrying perishable goods have been stranded at different inter-state border points in West Midnapore, East Burdwan, North 24 Parganas throughout the day today.