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Karachi construction industry hit by truckers strike

Truck owners complain increase in taxes affected their incomes

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 21, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 21, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

The construction business has been badly hit by the strike staged without any interruption by owners and transporters of gravel trucks since September 10.

The truck owners, drivers and helpers have set up a protest camp in Sohrab Goth.

Owners of dumper trucks complained that previously, they had been paying Rs800 per truck as royalty tax to the Sindh government but they were now paying Rs2,800 a truck.

Additionally, they said, contractors were now charging Rs1,000 and the toll tax had increased by Rs340 too. Cumulatively, a dumper truck carrying gravel, which previously cost Rs29,500,  was now costing them Rs31,500. Despite this increase they were not earning any profit, they maintained.

Three dumper and trucks associations were jointly staging the strike at Sohrab Goth. The three assoxiations formed a 14-member committee to finalize a strategy in this regard.

Truck owners said that the committee had decided to penalize any truck owner who violated the strike would have to pay up Rs50,000.

Fearing an abnormal increase in cost of construction, a leader of the Dumper Truck Owners Association said that the intolerant increase in taxes had affected the income of transporters. He said that cement and steel rebar prices had already risen and the surge in sand and gravel prices would further depress the construction business.

Sand and gravel, primarily transported by dumpers and trucks, has already forced several block making businesses to shut down, forcing a large number of workers to lose their jobs.

Moreover the businesses of precast roofs and premix concrete suppliers were also being affected by the transporters strike.

Habib Khokhar of the Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD) said that almost all building projects in the city had been badly hit by the strike. “Only those who have ample stock were barely surviving. But ones whose stocks are depleted are facing closures,” he said.

Owners of dumper trucks said that most of them brought gravel and crush material from dried streams in Nooriabad.

While contractors, who acquire the right to excavate gravel from the Sindh government also complained that the provincial government was charging exorbitant rates.

They said that they were being charged Rs45,000 instead of the previous rate of Rs35,000 per truck, adding that every truck was earlier charged Rs1,600 but now they had to  pay Rs2,000 a truck.

According to the gravel contractors, the provincial excise department used to charge them Rs800 a truck which had now risen to Rs2,800 per truck.

Transporters also bemoaned the persistent increase in fuel and lubricant prices.

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