The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) has called off the nationwide strike by transporters unconditionally following detailed discussions with the union minister of shipping, road transport and highways, T R Baalu, in New Delhi.
The strike has been called off after state the transport ministers' meeting convened by the ministry of shipping, road transport and highways unanimously appealed to the AIMTC to withdraw strike immediately and restore normal movement of motor vehicles across the country.
Speaking after the withdrawal of strike the union minister announced the setting up of a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Brahm Dutt, secretary (road transport and highways) to look into the issues relating to the national permit system and rationalisation of motor vehicle taxes.
The committee will have representatives from the finance and transport departments of various state governments and various stakeholders, including four members of the AIMTC. The committee will submit its report within eight weeks.
Baalu also announced the constitution of a standing committee, both at the central and state governments levels, to ensure a permanent mechanism for redresel of the grievances of the transporters.
The AIMTC said, as has been agreed upon earlier between the ministry and the association, there would be no increase in toll rates on government-funded national highway projects for a period of one year from 4 July 2008 up to 3 July 2009, and the rates that would be applicable would be those prior to 1 December 2007.
On the issues relating to service tax notices, non-deduction of TDS from truck freight payments and reduction in prices of tyres by way of removal of import restrictions, reduction in duties, etc, the union minister announced that a detailed representation on each of these issues would be submitted by the AIMTC to his ministry, which in turn, would take up the matter with the concerned ministries and departments.
The minister assured the AIMTC representatives that on the issue of reduction in diesel prices, an appropriate decision would be taken at the highest level of the government after considering all aspects.
Consequent to the agreement the transporters have assured that transport services shall be restored forthwith.