K’taka transport union calls off protest, bus services to resume
Bengaluru: Prominent farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, who led the Karnataka Transport Workers Union protest for four days, on Monday said that the workers were withdrawing their protest and would resume their duties across the state.
This announcement comes after Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation Chairman Nandish Reddy as a government’s representative handed over a written assurance in which nine of the 10 demands were accepted by the state government.
Addressing the agitating staff members here, Chandrashekhar clarified that the government in effect has accepted eight of the demands as in the case of ninth demand on implementing Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, the state government had assured only if it gets finance department’s clearance, which means to say that it is still very ambiguous.
“We can always take up these issues later, now it is better to call off the strike as most of our demands are met that too in writing,” he said and also apologised to the people of Karnataka for the hardships they had faced due to the protest.
He further added that more than a dozen ministers have launched concerted attacks on him, and the ruling party is trying to portray him as a “villain”, which is not true. “Now it is the time for us to call off the strike,” he reiterated.
He also added that the Sixth Pay commission recommendations actually will come into effect only after January 2021, so the transport employees do have time for demanding it later. “It would not be right on our part to press for it from today itself,” he said.
Karnataka transport department has about 37,019 employees and runs a fleet of 17,138 buses through four subsidiaries, including Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), and North West Road Transport Corporation (NWRTC).
Of the total fleet, BMTC has 6,500 buses, KSRTC 5,500 buses and the remaining are with the other two corporations (NEKRTC and NWRTC).
The road transport behemoth operates intra-state services in cities, towns and villages across the southern state and inter-state services to all five neighbouring states — Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
The sudden strike since Friday disrupted public transport, forcing thousands of commuters to use private buses or other modes of transport in cities and towns across the state.
With all the four corporations reeling under huge losses due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the guideline to carry only 50 per cent of the bus capacity to ensure social distancing, salaries of the employees were also delayed over the months till November.