The Bharat Bandh call given by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Friday against rising fuel prices, the new e-way bill and Goods and Services Tax (GST) has evoked negligible response in Uttar Pradesh.
The All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) — the apex body of the organised road transportation companies — had announced support to the Bandh but in Uttar Pradesh, transporters were apparently divided and in several cities, trucks were seen operating even after the ‘chakka jam’ began at 6 a.m.
“We cannot stall trucks without prior notice. We have commitments to fulfil to our clients and deliver goods on time,” said Daljeet Singh, a truck operator from Haryana who was seen with his truck in Lucknow on Friday.
Commercial establishments in almost all major cities, including Lucknow, Meerut and Agra, were open on Friday.
“There was no clarity in the Bandh call. Besides, our business is already in doldrums and we cannot afford more closures,” said Raj Kumar Chaudhary, a businessman in Meerut.
The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) core committee chairman, Malkeet Singh said that they had already distanced themselves from the Bharat Bandh call.
“This Bandh call is only on paper and not on the ground level,” he said.
Meanwhile, a heavy deployment of police force was seen at Transport Nagar in Lucknow on Friday. The Transport Nagar is the centre of transport activity in the state capital and a meeting point of transporters.
A senior district official said that police had been deployed to check forceful closure of any commercial or transport activity.
The CAIT as well as AITWA are seeking scrapping of the new e-way bill or eliminating certain rules from it. The e-way bill system has been introduced nationwide for inter-state movement of goods with effect from April 1, 2018.
They have also appealed to the government to withdraw heavy taxes on fuel prices and make it uniform across India.
Calling the GST ‘one of the most complex taxation systems’, the protesters want a review of the GST system and simplification of the tax slabs.