Truckers on Tuesday said that fresh restrictions imposed in Maharashtra to contain the surge in coronavirus cases is a setback for the sector which could incur daily losses of Rs 315 crore owing an expected decline in demand for trucks.
Truckers have also pitched for relief measures such as waiver of state taxes, permits and fitness fees, and deferment on EMIs to deal with financial stress.
Due to night curfew and entry restrictions, there will be delay in movement of essential commodities and in many cases may lead to expiry of e-way bill, thereby attracting hefty penalties, Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman, Core Committee and former President of All India Motor Transport Congress said in a statement.
Stating that the road transport sector had not yet recovered from the 2020 lockdown, the fresh one has triggered another setback, he said, "The demand for trucks will curtail which as per our assessment could go down by 50 per cent." The shops are closed except those dealing with essential items and there is a total weekend lockdown with prohibitory order in place, he said, adding that the night curfew will further impact both demand and consumption.
"Losses of Rs 315 every day are lurking large on the sector," Singh said.
A curtailed demand will further cripple the poor truckers as they are already in the financial crisis. "They have to arrange for taxes, insurance, salaries for workers and drivers, establishment and administrative costs and EMIs," he said.
The low capacity utilization on account of dwindling demand will constrict their cash flow and working capital, Singh added.
"As the Maharashtra State Government helped the transport sector during the lockdown last year, we request it to take up with the Central Government and the RBI to go lenient on circumstantial expiration of e-way bill, deferment on EMIs," he said.
Maharashtra should plan relief measures such as waiver of State Taxes, permit and fitness fees, free parking for idle trucks and buses, priority vaccination for drivers and workers in transportation space, among other, so that the truckers and transporters could sustain their families, he said.