July 26, 2018 / 1:36 PM / 23 days ago

Indian truckers' strike hits cotton trade, essential commodity supplies

MUMBAI, July 26 (Reuters) - A nation-wide truckers’ strike in India entered its seventh day on Thursday, disrupting movement of essential commodities such as grains and vegetables, and hurting cotton trade in the world’s biggest producer of the fibre, industry officials said.

All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), a leading truckers’ body, began an indefinite strike from July 20 demanding reduction in central and state taxes on diesel by bringing the fuel under the ambit of the nationwide Goods and Service Tax.

“The shipment of cotton has stopped, leading to non-fulfillment of obligations by the exporters resulting in the problems of cancellation and delayed shipment,” said Atul Ganatra, president of Cotton Association of India.

Cotton ginning factories were on the verge of closure because of the lack of raw material, said Ganatra, adding “traders are not able to move the cotton sold and payments are stuck due to non-movement of yarn”.

China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan are the main buyers of Indian cotton.

Supply of vegetables like onions and potatoes has fallen in big cities including the financial capital Mumbai and national capital Delhi.

Some vegetables such as potatoes have become costlier, but the rise is modest for now as traders have left-over stock, said a Mumbai-based trader.

“That inventory is now depleting. If the strike continues for a few more days, then prices will rise sharply,” the trader said.

Potato prices in Delhi have risen 29 percent in a week, according to data compiled by the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav Editing by Euan Rocha and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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