Truckers of Odisha’s mine areas demand freight rate hike
10th july 2018
Truck owners transporting minerals from Joda mining area of Keonjhar district have sought the intervention of the State Government for upward revision of transportation costs.
Truck and tipper owners have been demanding a rise in freight rates for vehicles engaged in transportation of minerals since February. Even after several rounds of discussion with transporting agencies, mine owners and plant owners, their demand has not been conceded to.
“The present freight rate is practically unfeasible and day by day tipper owners are debilitating financially. The transporters are not in a position to continue operation any more,” said Mining Area Truck Owners Association joint secretary Satyananda Karua.He said the transportation rate was last revised on May 17, 2017. Meanwhile, the diesel price has reached a new high and the cost of vehicle insurance has also increased.
The association has made several representations to Keonjhar Collector, transporting agencies and the mine owners. However, the matter has remained unresolved. Truck and tipper owners suspended transportation of minerals for a couple of days in the first week of this month protesting non-revision of freight rates. However, they resumed operation following assurance from the association that their demands will be met soon.
As many as 3,500 tippers of about 2,100 owners are engaged in mineral transportation which provide livelihood to 7000 families of drivers and helpers. Around 40,000 people residing in the mining areas directly and indirectly depend on the transportation business. The truckers are transporting minerals to railway sidings, sponge iron and steel plants. Drawing the attention of the State Government to the issue, the association has threatened to suspend mineral transportation, if its demand is not fulfilled.
As the Railways has failed to meet the wagon requirement for transportation of minerals, the sponge iron manufacturers of the State have to depend on truckers and this add to their manufacturing cost. Meanwhile, the Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association (SIMA) has urged state government to take up the issue with the Railway Ministry.
Source: THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS