KSRTC Workers Strike Affect Commuters- About 30 Private Buses Ferry Stranded Travelers
Mangaluru: The indefinite strike by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on wage related issues has affected travelers who depend on KSRTC buses for transportation as drivers and conductors of road transport corporations stayed away from duty. Due to this Commuters were left stranded at bus stations across the state, and in Mangaluru too. Bus services in the city were thrown out of gear from last night itself after drivers and conductors decided not to work the night shift. Passengers travelling to and from distant areas and office-goers were the most affected. It is also learnt that several universities in the state have postponed exams because of the bus workers strike.
operators, and has sought deployment of more trains, aimed at addressing inconvenience caused to the public due to the stir. Private buses, maxi cabs and other transport services were seen operating in different parts of the city, coming to the rescue of stranded passengers. However, their operators said the number of passengers was not as usual and was scarce. Speaking to Team Mangalorean Dilraj Alva, the president of DK Bus Operators Association said, “Out of courtesy our association has provided over 30 private buses to ferry stranded passengers to their required destinations like Uppinangady, Puttur, Bantwal and other places. But the response has been very low since people are using their own vehicles or have made arrangements on their own. People are also using cabs and auto-rickshaws on a fare sharing basis. But we have done our duty in order to ferry the travellers in the absence of KSRTC buses. We will continue our services until the strike ends”.
Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar who had made a visit to the KSRTC bus stand in Bejai speaking to the media said, “We have provided the required number of police to avoid any untoward incidents. If needed we will escort the private buses when they ferry the stranded commuters. Until now everything has been calm with no reports of any trouble from the public or the striking bus crew. We will provide the needed security until the KSRTC bus crew call off their strike. In the meantime public need to cooperate during the ongoing circumstances”.
It is learnt that Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), under the banner of Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League, had given a call for strike from April 7. The protest is against the government’s failure to implement a salary under the 6th Pay Commission for the RTC workers. They decided to go ahead with the strike, despite the government warning of strict action and ruling out any negotiations with them. While making it clear that the implementation of the 6th pay commission for transport workers was not possible, the government however has agreed to an 8 percent increase in salary as interim relief. However, it said, it cannot be implemented immediately as the model code of conduct is in place and a letter has been sent to the Election Commission seeking permission.
The government has tried to make alternate arrangements by roping in private transport Warning the employees against going on strike during the COVID-19 situation, officials had said “no work no pay”, while indicating about even invoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) if the strike continues. As usual private services including autos and cabs take advantage of charging exorbitantly, taking advantage of the transport strike. The Police Commissioner also said they are keeping vigil on it and making spot visits to inspect the fare being collected by private operators. According to the transport department, notification fixing cab and bus fares has already been issued and no one can charge over it.
Even though the KSRTC bus stand looks empty with only a few stranded passengers, many commuters are making use of the private buses that were put into service by the DK Bus Association to reach their destinations after work in the evening.