With fresh restrictions imposed in Maharashtra to curb the surge in coronavirus cases, truckers on Tuesday said that the restrictions will spell trouble for the sector, and could lead to daily losses of INR 315 crore owing to an expected dip in demand for trucks.
Truckers have also urged for relief measures such as waiver of state taxes, permits and fitness fees, and deferment on EMIs to deal with financial stress.
Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman, Core Committee and former President of All India Motor Transport Congress brings to the fore how the night curfew and entry restrictions will lead to a delay in movement of essential commodities and how it has also led to expiry of e-way bill, thereby attracting hefty penalties.
While underlining how the road transport sector still continues to reel under the impact of the 2020 lockdown, he added that the fresh restrictions has led to another setback.
“The demand for trucks will curtail which as per our assessment could go down by 50 per cent.”
The Chairman added that the shops are closed except those dealing with essential items and there is a total weekend lockdown with prohibitory order in place, thereby stressing on how the night curfew will further impact both demand and consumption.
“Losses of INR 315 every day are lurking large on the sector,” Mr Singh said.
A curtailed demand will lead to further losses as truckers are already in a financial crisis. They have to arrange for taxes, insurance, salaries for workers and drivers, establishment and administrative costs and EMIs, Mr Singh said.
The low capacity utilisation 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.
Mr Singh also highlighted that 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.
Of the 103,558 cases India counted on Sunday, over 57,700 infections were reported from Maharashtra.
The surge in Covid-19 cases prompted Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday to announce new guidelines for the state.
The state government had issued a slew of new restrictions, including night curfews, weekend lockdowns and daytime prohibitions, to control the spread of the disease.