Karnataka: Transport unions firm, buses to stay off roads
BENGALURU (DHNS): The indefinite strike called by the state-run transport corporation unions from Sunday midnight has forced the government to declare a holiday for schools and colleges here.
The union members have called for the state-wide strike to press for their demand of a hike in salary.
The impact of the strike call was felt from Sunday evening itself. A large number of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses stayed off the roads, leaving several commuters stranded. Some union members damaged a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus at Richmond Circle and thrashed its staff.
The state government authorised deputy commissioners to take a decision on declaring a holiday based on the situation in their respective districts.
In Bengaluru, V Shankar, Deputy Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban, confirmed that all schools would remain closed on Monday and Tuesday. The Bangalore University postponed the degree and postgraduate examinations, which were scheduled for Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the city police has stepped up security to ensure that there are no untoward incidents.
The state government’s appeal to the protesting unions to call off the strike went unheard. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “Give priority to public interest and give up the strike call. Consider the impact it will have on the students, poor and working class.” However, the transport unions refused to budge.
“All the employees of the four state-run transport corporations are ready to go to jail in case the government decides to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma),” said H V Anantha Subbarao, general secretary, KSRTC Staff and Workers’ Federation. When contacted, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said the government has not yet taken a decision whether to invoke Esma against the striking employees.