Thiruvananthapuram: Though the indefinite strike called by the lorry owners in the state has been called off, its impact is unlikely to die down soon. The strike was called by the Lorry Owners’ Welfare Federation from Monday onwards, demanding an increase in lorry rent to cover the extra spending on diesel. The strike was called off after lorry owners, traders and agents held a meeting on Tuesday and agreed to hike the freight charges by 15 per cent. This decision has virtually left the customers in a tight spot as the prices of commodities are expected to increase soon.
Mohammed Sidheek, general secretary of the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, Chalai Kothuval unit, said that the movement of goods from Bangalore, Namakkal and Salem has been hit by the strike and added that the increased freight charge will put an extra burden on consumers. “So far, we haven’t encountered much problems in bringing goods from Tirunelveli, Virdhunagar and Kottar markets. But the number of lorries coming from other places has decreased. As the next strike called by the transporters is around the corner, the movement of goods will definitely get a hit and prices will go up further,” he said.
The announcement of a 24-hour strike by the All-India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) from Wednesday midnight against the hike in diesel price has compounded the fear of the traders. “After a lull post-Onam season, this is the time when the business gets on track again. The lorry owners are already charging Rs 25 more as freight charge for every quintal sack they transport. To transport 10 tonnes of goods in a truck from Bangalore, we now have to pay Rs 21,000 instead of the previous Rs 19,000. The freight charges from now onwards will increase further and the customers who are the end-users would be hit by the decision,” said R Hari Lal, owner of K C Vegetables, Kothuval street.