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Extortion stalls HPL trucks

Tamluk, Sept. 4: Transportation of chemicals from Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd was stopped for 24 hours after truck drivers and owners resisted a Trinamul-backed truck owners’ association’s alleged attempts to extort money from vehicles entering or leaving HPL.

When the truck drivers refused to pay the money, members of the Haldia Shilpanagari Truck Owners’ Association stopped the vehicles and asked the drivers to leave. Around 100 trucks were stopped at the HPL gate. Transporters stopped operating trucks and lodged a police complaint.

The subdivisional police officer of Haldia, Amitava Maity, said: “We have detained the secretary and a member of the association. The situation is normal now.”

The transporters said that last afternoon, the association members had demanded Rs 200 from each truck entering or leaving the HPL compound.

“The Trinamul-led truck owners’ association wanted to be involved in the transportation of chemicals but we did not hire them because of high rates,” a transporter said.

INTTUC leader Shibnath Sarkar denied that Trinamul was involved in the extortion.