KARACHI: The 6-day long strike of goods transporters has caused loss of around Rs 250 million to the economy.
The premium body of the transporters i.e. United Goods Transporters Association (UGTA) with the alliance of other transporters bodies including Transporters of Goods Association (TGA) and others had called an indefinite strike on Wednesday (November 8) against non-acceptance of their Charter of Demand.
The transporters demanded withdrawal of the recent increase in diesel prices, removal of increase in Value-Added Tax (VAT) by 600 per cent and restricting FBR and Excise and Taxation Department to charge the tax from transporters same as they did from July 2011 to April 2013.
The transporters also demanded of the government to free the land of Fishery Truck Stand from the land mafia, giving payment to those transporters whose vehicles and containers were impounded by LEAs during Muharram.
Their demands further included opening of Mai Kolachi Road for heavy vehicular traffic and reducing the cost of challan immediately, as it was increased by Rs 500 to Rs3500 during last few months.
They further demanded of the government to constitute a committee to review the tax imposition on transporters and impose the tax in the light of the recommendations of that committee.
They also demanded to give facility of depositing tax with the delay for 6 months to those transporters, who deposited advance tax for a year and reviewing the tax policy of transport sector.
Their also demanded that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Highway Authority (NHA) should consult with the transporters before increasing excise tax, income tax and toll tax.
They demanded of the NHA to address the complaints of the transporters and establish a cell at federal level and provincial level as well.
They further demanded that the government should abolish toll tax and ensure protection to the drivers and conductors, release the compensation of the torched vehicles on the occasion of Benazir Bhutto assassination, allow the drivers and conductors of long routes to keep licensed arms along with them during travelling and exempt them from Section 144.
The transporters further demanded the increase in the field staff of motorway police at every check post, enhancing working of movie cameras.
They also demanded to re-construct N-5, N-25 and Motorway M-1 and M-2 routes, as the roads are in worse condition due to frequent passing of NATO and other heavy containers. They demanded re-construction of Quetta-Taftan Road and construction of trauma centres on all main motor highways including N-5, N-25, and N-40.
The transporters’ body further demanded of the Sindh government to provide them security against extortionists (‘bhatta’ and ‘parchi’ mafias).
The former Vice President (VP) TGA Arif Malik while talking to Customs Today demanded of the government to give the transport section, a status of industry, and he appealed to the authorities concerned of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) to call Port Council Committee meeting after every three months.
President TGA Haji Muhammad Anwar Khan Niazi informed this scribe that around 30,000 vehicles of Karachi are standstill at garages and truck stands.
Later, the Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan called upon a delegation of the transporters for discussion last night, but the strike was continued till the filing of this report, as the deliberations between Sindh Governor and transporters’ delegation were continued.