After talks, truckers call off strike

Truckers on Friday called off their nationwide agitation after the government assured them that it would consider some of their key demands, such as third party insurance premium, removal of toll barriers and ease in acquiring national permits.

“We welcome the decision by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) to end their strike. They have heeded our appeal and withdrawn their agitation. The government is sensitive to demands raised by transporters,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted.

Sources said the breakthrough was achieved after discussions over two days held by Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal and Mr. Gadkari.

The strike called by the AIMTC had been on for eight days. The body claims support of 93 lakh truckers and had gone on an indefinite strike demanding reduction in diesel prices, among others, from July 20.

A joint statement issued by the government and the truckers said the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India had agreed to discuss review of third party insurance for heavy vehicles and would meet transporters on Saturday on the issue.

The statement said that in order to ensure ease of toll collection, the government would take measures to ensure seamless movement of vehicles with the help of technology. It would also notify a national permit scheme for tourist vehicles across the country.

Various other demands were also under consideration, which include extending the validity of fitness certificates for vehicles for two years and regularisation of higher axle loads for existing vehicles.

The statement said the government had agreed in principle that problems faced due to implementation of e-way bill would be resolved and a standard operating procedure for its execution would be developed.

The government would set up a high-level committee and would seek to address demands related to GST, rationalisation or abolition of TDS rates and direct port delivery. The panel would submit recommendations within 3 months.

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