Talks fail to break Truckers – Ambuja Cements deadlock at Himachal plants

Shimla: Hectic parley failed to resolve the 14 day old truck operators strike today with them not agreeing to as Amubja Cement managements proposal for rebate in freight to ferry clinker and cement from Darlaghat plant to Ropar.

Leader of the truck operators Ram Kishan Thakur said that though some headway had been made but they were unwilling to accept the Ambuja management’s proposal of a 5 percent rebate in freight.

He said that the truckers were demanding freight parity with Jaypee Cements, which had a cement plant in the vicinity and was paying a freight of Rs 653/- per ton.

The truck operators are unwilling to accept a lower freight as expenditures heads have gone up, said Thakur.

However, company executives said that outcome of the talks was positive and the contentious issues would be resolved soon.

Unwilling to be quoted till finalization of some agreement, a senior Ambuja executive said, “about 95 percent of the issues stand settled and the rest will be taken care of soon.”

The transporters strike has piled up stocks of cement and clinker at the two units at Darlaghat in Solan district, which are awaiting dispatch, pending resolution of the 14 day old strike.

In the absence of any rail connectivity about 3000 trucks are engaged on a daily basis to transport the cement from these plants.

With truck loads restricted to 9 tons, the truckers have been on strike since October 7, demanding a upward revision and are not willing to accept freight rebates for being engaged by the Ambuja management on a regular at these plants

The two plants in Himachal account for about 2.8 million tones production of Ambuja cements, which was 13 percent of the company’s total annual capacity of 22 million tonnes. The company has a capacity to produce three million tonnes per year in Himachal.

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