Many trucks stayed off the road on Sunday, the first day of the State-wide strike called by the South India Motor Transporters’ Association (SIMTA), even as goods carriers transporting milk, vegetables, eggs, medicine and sugarcane were given an exemption.
Though many trucks were found to be plying on highways, including the Bangalore-Mysore highway, general secretary of SIMTA G.R. Shanmugappa claimed “full co-operation” from truckers across the State.
More than 50 trucks were found parked at Kadirenahalli in the city.
Abu Bakher, a truck driver, who had parked his truck at the Kadrenhalli sand lorry stand, said the union representatives were keeping a watch on NICE Road and Kanakapura Road to ensure that no trucks were carrying loads in the city and across borders, he added.
Some goods carriers from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh were also stopped and told to return, a SIMTA member said.
Meanwhile, protests were staged by truckers in various parts of the city including Mysore Road, Ashoka Pillar, near Kempe Gowda International Airport and Nelamangala. The city police said no incidents of violence were reported.
“There was no transportation of rice, ragi and other foodgrains. Trucks carrying petroleum products also did not ply. The stock of petrol and diesel may last for the next two days,” said Mr. Shanmugappa. He said the trucks transporting sugarcane were allowed to ply in view of Pongal festivities.
The strike was called in solidarity with the sand lorry operators’ strike, which entered the 23rd day on Sunday. The SIMTA has demanded issue of sand transportation permits to carriers immediately and has also sought withdrawal of criminal cases booked against truck drivers.
The Association members had already held one round of talks with Transport Minister B. Ramalinga Reddy. They are hoping to meet the Chief Minister to discuss their demands soon.
Though the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners and Association (BTTOA) are extending support to the strike, commuting to the airport was not hit. Kempe Gowda International Airport authorities said there was no shortage of taxis. Additionally, there were sufficient bus services for air travellers. However, BTTOA general secretary Radhakrishna Holla claimed many tourist taxis and cabs also stayed off the roads. “We have sought more co-operation from taxi operators on Monday,” Mr. Holla said.