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Truckers’ lobby back on the road

One of the major truckers’ lobbies in the state — the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators’ Association — on Monday called off the strike on an assurance from transport minister Subhas Chakraborty that its four-point charter of demands would be considered. Elsewhere in the country, the truckers’ strike entered its eighth day.

Minister Chakraborty, who held a meeting with representatives of the Federation on Monday morning, said the withdrawal of the strike by the truckers’ body would signal a return to normalcy in movement of goods in the next few days.

Federation general secretary Satyajit Majumdar confirmed that the strike had been “withdrawn” and that trucks in Bengal would ply “normally” from Tuesday. He claimed that the Federation was the “biggest truckers’ body” in the state, with about 2.5 lakh vehicles.

Officials of some other transport operators’ bodies and transport-booking agents, however, claimed the strike was on. “The Federation is not even an affiliate body of the All India Motor Transport Congress. Their withdrawal will not make any difference,” said Sanjay Upadhyay, president of the Posta Goods Transport Operators’ Association.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, meanwhile, said on Monday that he had written to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, requesting him to intervene and put an end to the countrywide truckers’ strike. He said that the state had received some stocks of sugar by rail and fish by road.

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