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|October 27, 1999||
Transport strike called off
The week-long nationwide strike by lorry operators was called off tonight after the government assured the All-India Motor Transport Congress that it would consider declaring the sector an industry.
The announcement was made at a press conference addressed jointly by Surface Transport Minister Nitish Kumar and AIMTC president Om Prakash Aggarwal.
The government also agreed to withdraw the October 11 notification increasing licence and other fees.
The government, however, refused to roll back the 35 per cent increase in the price of diesel.
Aggarwal said the strike had been called off with immediate effect and he had already sent messages to the state transport federations to resume work.
The agreement was reached after marathon meetings between office-bearers of the AIMTC and state transport federations and Surface Transport Secretary A K Joshi as well as Nitish Kumar.
The minister said that every month his officials would hold a meeting with the transport sector to redress its grievances.
Kumar said he was advising state governments to withdraw criminal cases filed against transport associations and release all those arrested in the wake of the strike.
He specifically spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi who agreed to act in a positive manner.
The Centre also agreed to ask the state governments to fix minimum freight rates within 30 days.
A committee will be set up to look into the demands of the transport sector on the collection of toll tax.
The demand for reduction in the quantum of permit fee will be considered at the next meeting of the Transport Development Council.
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