Traders have abandoned around 70,000 to 80,000 trucks that travel to and fro Mumbai.
Mumbai: Come Monday and it is likely that essential commodities won’t reach you. The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) that supplies essential commodities to the state has said that supplies like milk, vegetables and medicines will soon see a crunch in the local markets.
Traders have abandoned around 70,000 to 80,000 trucks that travel to and fro Mumbai, as they do not have enough cash to pay octroi and daily wages to the labourers after the Centre banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The government has waived off toll collection across the country but the truckers claim that they need cash to pay octroi, daily labourers and money to fill fuel.
The AIMTC has said that that Rs 1,194 crore cash is required on a daily basis by the transport sector for its operations. As per the IT Act, Rs 35,000 per truck per trip is allowed for en route expenses. As a result, small operators having 10 trucks would require Rs 3.5 lakh per day which is difficult to arrange given the current situation where Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are banned.
AIMTC’s member Malkhit Singh said, “As trucks aren’t moving the stocks available are depleting and new stocks aren’t coming in. For example, vegetable supply from Malegaon and Nashik has already stopped. The shortage of vegetables will be seen immediately.”
When contacted, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “We have got no such intimation but this is arm twisting. It seems some people still feel that with such tactics they will be able to save black money. They are the ones instigating such acts.”
Traders say the impact is not only on goods vehicles but even passenger vehicles, as each vehicle has to pay taxes in cash while crossing state borders. Mr Singh said that there would be a shortage of essential commodities like medicines and milk from Monday or Tuesday. Medicine stocks coming from Gujarat will soon be depleted as the traders from there have stopped sending their trucks out from their warehouses.
A majority of the traders are worried that with the truck drivers and cleaners abandoning the trucks on highways, the goods could be robbed. The traders have sought loan from the state and Centre till they have liquid cash but no decision has been taken as yet.