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Truckers start indefinite strike to protest premium hike

IANS | Kolkata |

Protesting against the sharp increase in third-party insurance premium, goods vehicles owners across states started an indefinite strike from Saturday.

The move is likely to disrupt the supplies of commodities and it could lead to a spike in prices of essential goods.

"We have no alternative but to go ahead with the strike. As many as 35 lakh trucks will be off the road in the southern states," the All India Confederation of Goods Vehicles Owners' Association (ACOGOA) President Channa Reddy said.

The South India Motor Transport Association had already gone for the indefinite strike from Thursday and now ACOGOA joined the protest. All India Motor Transport Congress' (AIMTC) and Bombay Goods Transport Association will join the league from April 20.

AIMTC President S.K. Mittal said truckers have been demanding the category-wise real time data from the insurance regulator but it has not been provided.

Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) initially proposed 50 per cent increase but later it asked to implement 41 per cent increase in third-party insurance premium effective from Saturday, Mittal added.

"The fight for justice by truckers of India will continue till IRDAI reverses its proposal to third party insurance premium hike," Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators' Association's (FWBTOA) Joint Secretary Sajal Ghosh said.

Ghosh also said that as many as 20 district level associations in West Bengal with three lakh trucks joined the indefinite strike starting from Saturday.

"As members of the ACOGOA decided to keep their goods vehicles off the road, it will have impact in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, part of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka," he added.

According to Ghosh, truck owners had a meeting with the Union Finance Department's officials and would meet IRDAI officials on Monday to resolve the issue. 

"After that, associations will decide the next course of action," he added.