The supplies of essential commodities are likely to be disrupted from the first day of the new financial year (2017-18) as some of the truck owners' associations have threatened to take their carriers off the road for indefinite period.
The strike has been called to protest the abrupt increase in third-party insurance premium.
"We will remain off the road from April 1. We protest the exorbitant rise in premium of the third-party insurance, which has gone up by 800 percent from 2002 till date," All India Confederation of Goods Vehicles Owners' Association’s (ACOGOA) president Channa Reddy said.
All India Motor Transport Congress' (AIMTC) president SK Mittal said that they are protesting against the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority's (IRDA) proposal to increase the insurance for the third-party insurance.
"We have been demanding the category wise real time data from the insurance regulator but this has not been provided," Mittal said.
"Previously, the tariff advisory committee was an active body having representatives from all stakeholders. The committee must be reinstated and real time data should be made available to the committee to take the final decision on hike. Till then, the current arbitrary and unilateral third-party insurance premium hike should be kept in abeyance," Mittal added.
According to Mittal, IRDA initially proposed 50 per cent increase but later it has asked to implement 41 per cent increase in third-party insurance premium effective from April 1.
"As many as 20 district level associations in West Bengal are going for the indefinite strike from April 1. As members of ACOGOA decided to keep their goods vehicles off the road from April 1, it will have impact not only in West Bengal but also Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, part of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka," Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators' Association's Joint Secretary Sajal Ghosh said.
The South India Motor Transport Association has already gone for the indefinite strike from Thursday midnight. Around 22 lakh trucks have gone off the roads after Thursday midnight in southern states.
"The increase of insurance premium will affect the truckers badly. It will be difficult for truckers to pay that much amount," GV Shanmugappa, General Secretary of the Southern Region Truckers' Welfare Association, said.
The truckers in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are participating in the agitation.
"We will not withdraw our agitation till the IRDA withdraws the proposal to increase the insurance premium," Shanmugappa said.
Bombay Goods Transport Association's President BR Poonia said, "We are supporting the cause of the strike and have planned to join the indefinite strike from April 20."