THE goods transporters' strike in Karachi has entered its eighth day today. Its impact on the economy has been severe and if not called off immediately it could bring the business of most parts of the country, including Karachi, to a halt. Reportedly thousands of containers are just lying at the port and hundreds of ships have returned from the harbor without loading their cargo. Apart from pushing the inflationary spiral further upwards, the strike has aggravated the flour crisis in the country. According to reports, the supply of wheat to the flour mills has been suspended and over 1,000 chakki mills in Karachi have fallen silent. What is frightening, the flour is becoming more of a rarity in the market as its circulation has virtually ceased. With Ramzan just a few days away and the scourge of hoarding rearing its head, the situation would definitely be adding fuel to the fire. Moreover it is not this flour factor alone, the entire merchant community has been forced to suffer recurring losses worth millions of rupees on a daily basis. Yet the thing to be dreaded is that the strike seems to be taking on a domino effect. Some other sections belonging to the transport mafia countrywide have already given fresh calls. A good part of the public transport establishment in Lahore plans to take vehicles off the roads today, caring little for office-goers, students and other commuters. Since these transporters are in no way linked to the strike in Karachi, they should be dealt with severely. Though it is somewhat difficult to take action against the powerful vehicle mafia, the situation calls for the government to act firmly. The vehicle-owners' genuine grievances must be removed. Like other sections of society they have been badly hit by the recent price hike and the oil crisis. Their eight-point charter of demands which ncludes reducing the diesel price, lessening the toll tax and compensation for the vehicles burnt by miscreants on December 27 in Karachi, etc, deserves serious consideration. There is no time to waste.