Diesel prices crossing Rs 100-mark in Tamil Nadu has left truck owners and fleet operators a worried lot and a large number of trucks in Namakkal district, considered as the truck capital of South India, are not plying.
Namakkal has an estimated 5 lakh trucks in the district and according to truck owners and fleet operators, around 35 per cent of them are not being plied.
The truck owners association wants both the Central and state governments to include fuel prices under the GST and the DMK government to honour its promise of reducing the diesel price by Rs 4 per litre.
M. Velmurugan, General secretary, Truck owners association, Namakkal district, while speaking to IANS said, "More than 50 per cent of trucks are not being operated. Toll fee and diesel price take away more than 70 per cent of the income and after paying crew, loading and unloading at various markets, the trucks are operated at a loss. So, most of the owners have stopped running the trucks which will lead to a severe crisis in the transport sector and movement of essential commodities will be affected."
Since most of the truck operators having brought the trucks on loans, the vehicles not plying have affected the repayment of loans. Most of the loanees are being harassed by financial institutions, including banks and private lenders.
Selvamani Ramachandran, a truck owner in Namakkal who has five trucks while speaking to IANS said, "In 2018, 2019, the Kerala floods affected our mobility as almost all districts there were inundated in water and we lost heavily after trucks stopped plying to that state.
"In 2020 and most of 2021, Covid19 affected us, and now with diesel prices touching Rs 100 per litre, we don't know what to do. We appeal to the state and central governments to bring fuel prices under GST to save the industry.
If the truck industry comes to an abrupt halt, the movement of essential goods and fuel itself would be affected and most of the wholesale and retail traders are worried about the fallout of an imminent stoppage of truck movement.
(With inputs from IANS)