Bengaluru, April 8 (IANS) The commuters across Karnataka continued to face hardships as the call for indefinite strike given by the Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League (KSRTEL) entered the second day on Thursday.
With the majority of the employees from all the four state-run transport corporations not attending their duty, buses continued to remain mostly off roads across the state, affecting the daily commuters.
With the employees remaining adamant, the four state road transport corporations have now shown signs of taking a tough stand by serving notices to more than 3,000 employees who are under training period.
After the tough measures, nearly 100 RTC buses started operations with regular crew members.
Accordingly, 54 buses of NEKRTC, 38 buses of KSRTC, 28 of BMTC and 14 of NEKRTC were operated by the regular crew.
“Of the 3,000 trainees, only about 300 have started attending work for fear of facing disciplinary action. While these employees can’t fill in for the 1.3 lakh employees who are on strike, this will definitely rattle them and unease the agitators,” an official said.
Travellers from far flung areas as well as office-goers were the most affected due to the ongoing strike.
However, the state government’s efforts to rope in private players as part of its effort to make alternate arrangements has mostly worked in negative terms as several commuters continued to allege that private operators were charging exorbitant rates.
Although, the Railways and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation are running additional trains to ease out the pressure, but they remained inadequate.
With the bus strike entering the second day, the number of passengers thronging the bus stands continued to remain scarce as most people in Bengaluru preferred to use their own vehicles.
Officials stated that the alternate arrangement of roping private players can never match the total capacity of busses operated by the four state run transport corporations.
“More than 20,000 buses are operated by the four state-run corporations and they are responsible for making nearly 60,000 trips inside and outside the state. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is responsible for ferrying passengers within Bengaluru city alone,” an officials told IANS.
Another official added that though the state government has provided all exemptions including emission, tax, insurance and fitness, the private players can not match the four state-run transport corporations.
The official added that private operators who had surrendered their vehicles due to non-payment of tax and lack of fitness certificates are also being roped in and allowed to operate without permits.
With the government not ready to concede to their demand for implementation of the 6th Pay Commission report for RTC workers, the employees have decided to continue with their strike, despite Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa issuing a warning of strict action.
The KSRTEL members have announced that the stir will continue indefinitely till the state government agrees to their demand of implementing the 6th Pay Commission.
Yediyurappa had opened a window for negotiations on Wednesday and said that talks could be held if they suspend the strike.
Yediyurappa said, “The state government has fulfilled eight of the nine demands and has also announced an 8 per cent salary hike. In these tough times, it is wrong to go on an indefinite strike. I hope they do not force a situation where tough measures will be necessitated.”
While welcoming the invitation for talks, Kodihalli Chandrashekar, the president of the KSRTC Employees League, said they believed that talks were the only way ahead.