New Delhi: The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on Friday announced it will go on a nationwide indefinite strike from October 1 after the government did not respond to their demand to revoke TDS and toll charges.
"We had a meeting with Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari yesterday (Thursday) who refused to talk on the issues (including removal of toll charges)," Bhim Wadhwa, the president of the apex transporters' body, told IANS.
He said the transporters body, representing over 80 lakh vehicles across the country, had given a deadline of August 25 to the Centre to address their issues. But the demand appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
"Eventually, there is no option left, except going on an indefinite nationwide strike from October 1," Wadhwa said.
Wadhwa said the government would lose about Rs.1,700 crore per day on account of the countrywide strike, but clarified that the transporters' body was not against the government revenues raised through toll.
He urged the government to work out alternate toll collection methods that would not only contain "illegal collection" but also save diesel worth thousands of crores of rupees.
He said the apex body's demand for a barrier free India would save public money to the tune of Rs.87,000 crore per year.
"The transport fraternity cannot sustain operations in light of burgeoning corruption, harassment and time delays at the toll plazas and check post barriers. They have decided not to pay toll on road and want that the revenue may be collected as indirect tax and therefore proclaim 'barrier free India' and removal of toll plazas across the country," Wadhwa said.
He said that toll charge constitutes about 20 percent of total operating cost and fuel (diesel) around 45-50 percent.
In addition, Wadhwa also demanded revocation of TDS imposed on the transport sector from July 1.
"The levy of TDS on the transport sector has unleashed utter confusion and other practical difficulties like cash flow constriction, difficulties in keeping records, collecting TDS certificates, reconciling and taking refund of TDS, on deposit of TDS by the consignor are obvious," he said.
"It is now time for the government to wake up and take note of the wave of disappointment and resentment among the fraternity at the utter callousness of the government towards this sector," Wadhwa said.