In India, millions of trucks have gone off the roads to protest rising
operating costs triggered by higher fuel prices and rising taxes. As Anjana
Pasricha reports from New Delhi, high oil prices are hurting India's
Nearly five million
trucks stopped throughout India. Truckers say the rising cost of diesel and
taxes levied by the government are wiping out profits.
India has hiked
petrol and diesel prices twice this year by about 17 percent, following the
spiraling cost of crude oil in the international market.
the government to reduce other taxes levied on them to compensate for the rising
cost of diesel. For example, they are asking for a repeal of a hike in tolls
gathered on highways.
A consultant to the All India Motor transport
Congress, Pradeep Singhal, says it is becoming unviable to run
"The toll tax is increasing day by day and there is no mechanism
to check how the toll tax is levied," he said. "There are many taxes which are
levied in the name of development and road maintenance, so there is no need for
raising the tax or levying new taxes."
Transportation minister T.R.
Baalu says there is not much leeway to reduce taxes. He says the increase in
tolls and taxes is needed to fund road construction and maintenance.
government has appealed to the truckers to call off the strike, but the truckers
have vowed to stay off the roads till their demands are met.
of talks with the government has failed, but more talks have been
Trucks are a lifeline for India's economy, hauling nearly 70
percent of goods transported across the country. There are fears that a
prolonged strike could lead to shortages and increase inflation, which is
running at a 13-year-high of more than 11 percent.
India has been hit
hard by surging oil prices because it imports more than two thirds of its fuel
requirements, and analysts say the high economic growth the country has
witnessed in recent years could slow.