Sand transporters call off strike

Sand transporters on Monday night called off the indefinite strike they had commenced a month ago.

G R Shanmugappa, president, Federation of Karnataka Lorry Agents and Owners Association, said, “We have called off the strike after the government agreed to allow transportation of 1,400-1,500 truckloads of sand daily to Bangalore, besides 500 loads to Mysore and 200 truckloads each to Mandya, Hassan and Hubli. Though our demand was more, still we accepted this for now.”

The sand transporters were on a strike from December 22, 2013, seeking more permits to transport sand for construction activity. Their other demands included setting up of more truck terminals, revision of overload limit, withdrawal of minimum qualification of eighth-class pass for driving licence to commercial vehicles and freezing diesel prices.
However, another faction of truckers did not confirm the withdrawal of the strike.

B Chennareddy, president, Karnataka Sand Lorry Owners Association, said: “In the afternoon meeting, it was agreed that the government will provide us with the minutes of the meeting on whatever both the sides have agreed upon. But after that I left and haven’t seen the minutes. So, I am not aware of what has been agreed upon. I will be able to tell only on Tuesday morning.”

Earlier in the day, the government had decided to supply at least 1,000 loads of sand through the Public Works Department from Tuesday to bail out the construction industry which was hit by the sand transporters’ strike.

A meeting between the truckers and the transport department was chaired by Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy.

The truckers repeated their demand to check the harassment of truck drivers transporting sand without permit. They asked the government to withdraw cases registered against truck drivers and put an end to ‘Inspector Raj.’ They also demanded that the government curb illegal sand mining and supply of filtered sand, which is not only affecting the State’s revenue but also causing serious damage to buildings.

It is learnt that the government told the truckers that it can consider giving permit for nine cubic feet of sand up to 10 tonnes.

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