Trucks carrying vegetables and fish spent Monday night stationed outside the city but several of them were forced by police to drive to their destinations and unload early on Tuesday.
Truck operators, however, said the strike would continue to protest a state government decision to lower the carrying capacity of vehicles when the Centre is allowing up to 25 per cent more.
Trucks that had remained parked in North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Burdwan entered the city on Tuesday morning and reached wholesale hubs in Howrah and Sealdah early on Tuesday but the number was far less than usual.
“Some 14 trucks reached Koley Market early on Tuesday carrying onions from Nashik. Vegetables from other parts also arrived,” said Kamal Dey, the president of the West Bengal Vendor Association. “But the usual stream of trucks was missing.”
Over five lakh trucks carrying raw materials and medicines enter the city every day.
Transport department officials and the police met truck operators late on Tuesday to resolve the matter but the operators sought a meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee. All previous meetings with officials and ministers have proved futile, they said.
Barely an hour later, trucks arrive in the wholesale hub with their consignments. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
“We have convened a meeting on Wednesday. Representatives from various districts will meet and draw up a plan on how to continue with the strike,” said Subhas Chandra Bose, the secretary of the Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators’ Association. “Some trucks moved on Tuesday because the police intervened. Most of them remained off the road. The government was very keen on a breakthrough by Tuesday but we stood our ground.”
Sources at Nabanna said chief minister would be busy touring districts and holding administrative meetings between August 26 and September 7. This meant a meeting with truck operators would not be possible immediately.
Prices of some items such as potatoes and onions have already soared in markets across Bansdroni, Thakurpukur, Harinavi and Maniktala.