Bus services in Bengaluru hit as road transport employees go on indefinite strike


Passengers stranded at bus stops for hours, CM appeals to employee to call off strike

Bus services in Bengaluru were crippled after thousands of drivers and conductors with road transport corporations decided to go on an indefinite strike demanding that they be made government employees with all benefits. Protesting employees had condemned the ‘ill-treatment’ meted out to them by the State government during Thursday’s protest at Freedom Park.

BMTC officials told The Hindu said that around 5000 buses had been scheduled for operations this morning, but 90% of them remained off road. With BMTC forced to cancel services, passengers were caught unawares and were stranded at major bus stands such as Majestic, Shivajinagar, Yeshwanthpur, Shantinagar and other hubs.

The strike call has impacted KSRTC bus services too. Protesting employees stopped KSRTC buses at Mysuru Satellite bus stand, Kengeri, Nelamangala and other areas.

The lack of services caused a great inconvenience to people commuting to work, those who arrived in Bengaluru in the morning unaware of the strike and college students. Muniyamma who had reached KSRTC bus stand in the morning after travelling from Yadgir said, “At around 7 a.m, I reached the bus stop with my three kids. I was looking for a bus to go Gollarahatti on Magadi Road, but there was no bus. Hotels inside the bus stop were closed due to the strike,” she said, adding that auto drivers are taking advantage by charging high fares. “I cannot afford to pay them. And I don’t know what to do. Had I known that the protest would impact services, I would not have come.”

Another commuter spent hours trying to get to his destination. “This has caused a huge inconvenience to the general public. People have been stranded for hours at the bus stops. The State government should intervene in the matter and resolve the issue.”

Demands

The protesters have demanded the State government consider them as government employees and extend the benefits.

Yogeesh Gowda, a protesting employee said, “Irresponsible behaviour of the State government has forced employees to resort to strike. The strike will continue indefinitely till our demands are met. During Thursday’s protests no one came to us to discuss the issue and instead they arrested the protesters. All the employees of four road transport corporations in the State are participating in the strike. Employees are protesting at depots and preparing their own food. In the afternoon we will head to Freedom Park.”

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Anand another employee said, “We have been demanding consecutive governments to consider us a government employee but they have ignored us. We will continue our strike till our demands are met. The State government should consider our demand in a time bound manner.”

CM appeals to employees

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has appealed to the employees to call of strike and report back to duty. “The employee should understand situation of the government. We are going through a tough time due to pandemic. I appeal them to report back to duty.”

Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi too has appealed to the protesting employees to call off the strike and resume services. He said that the State government has paid the salaries of the staff even during the time of pandemic. The State government has called a meeting of senior officials to discuss the issue.

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Sagar Biswas

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