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Govt invites striking transporters for talks
April 16, 2003 19:04 IST
In a bid to end the transporters' strike that has led to surge in prices of fruits and vegetable in some states, the government on Wednesday invited unions for talks and clarified that transporters were out of new the VAT regime by virtue of being service providers.
The government move comes a day after prices of petrol and diesel were cut by Re 1. Diesel price, along with Value Added Tax, order scrapping 15-year-old trucks and minimum freight rates, had prompted All India Motor Transport Congress to call the countrywide strike, which entered third day on Wednesday.
"I have invited them for talks on Thursday," Minister of Road Transport and Highways B C Khanduri told reporters in New Delhi.
Prices of fruits and vegetables soared in some states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Chandigarh and Karnataka even as small lorries and tempos filled in for trucks in most states. The strike has also impacted cargo movements out of ports and export consignments.
"The impact of the strike is marginal," Khanduri said, adding supplies had not been affected anywhere in the country.
He said VAT was to replace varying sales tax system across states and would not apply to truckers who fall under service provider category and as such do not pay sales tax.
J M Saksena, secretary general of All India Motor Transport Congress, the largest truckers' union with 27 lakh (2.7 million) vehicles in its fold, said the demand would be withdrawn if the government gave an undertaking in writing.AIMTC, which had earlier rejected offers of discussions at the secretary level, has termed the cut in diesel prices as "too little" and demanded at least Rs 7.50 per litre reduction.
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