New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu announced Monday that truck operators and Adani Cement have resolved their dispute over freight charges after 67 days of standoff.
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Adani Cement shutting down its cement plants
Operations will begin from Tuesday, the CM said, signalling the end of the dispute which saw Adani Cement shutting down its cement plants at Darlaghat and Barmana in December after the truck operators refused to accept the revised freight rates.
Due to the closure of both the cement plants, the state was incurring a loss of over Rs 1 crore per day in taxes, the government said in a statement.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) tweeted
“Our Govt is committed to work for the greatest common good of the society. In the 3rd meeting held with Truck Operators today, we have been successful in resolving the issues & ending the 67-day long dispute,” the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) tweeted.
After the CM’s intervention, the management of the cement company and the operators negotiated a rate of Rs 10.30 per tonne per km for single axle and Rs 9.30 per tonne per km for multi axle trucks. Adani Group had offered Rs 6 per tonne per km against the existing rate of Rs 10.58 for the unit in Darlaghat.
“After I became the chief minister, the truck operators went on strike on December 16. Earlier the truck operator used to get Rs 11.41 and Rs 10.58 per tonne per km as fare. The controversy started after Adani took over the company,” Sukhu said at a press conference.
“I took personal interest in this matter and held several rounds of meetings. We did not issue any kind of notification which was not in the interest of the truck operator. We also do not want industries to end,” he said. “When egos clash, it takes time to resolve disputes. Adani Group was adamant about one rate. I myself had a meeting with their CEO.”
If some small issues arise between truck operators and cement plants, then the district administration will solve them, he added.
This decision became possible due to the discretion of the company and the truck operators, Sukhu said. “Truck operators have fought for their rights and entitlements, and today this dispute has come to an end.”
Earlier, the CM had held several rounds of meetings with truck operators and cement plant managements. Last week Union Minister Anurag Thakur met truck operators in Shimla and also spoke to Sukhu to resolve the issue. “All truck operators of Darlaghat are on strike for 2 months. We have discussed in detail the problems regarding their transportation rates. Both sides should find a way out with a positive approach,” he said.
A week later, the government constituted a sub-committee to look into the matter as well as appointed Himachal Consultancy Organisation (HIMCON) as a consultant to fix the rates. The HIMCON had submitted its report to the chief minister.
“We want this matter to be resolved at the earliest but we cannot resolve it just by sitting in a room,” Anupam Kashyap, a member of the sub-committee and director of Himachal Pradesh Transport, had told ThePrint last month.
Minister Harshvardhan Chauhan told ThePrint back then
“The chief minister himself is looking into the matter, but the government can only play the role of a mediator,” Himachal Industries Minister Harshvardhan Chauhan told ThePrint back then.
When ThePrint visited Darlaghat last month, there were thousands of trucks parked on the roadside. The truckers rued that they were unable to clear their installments of loans taken to buy the heavy duty vehicles. Similarly, the closure of the plants had affected the local economy for the last two months.