HRTC strike hits transport services

The 24-hour strike called by state road transport corporation employees crippled passenger transport services on Tuesday in Himachal Pradesh, giving a tough time to commuters, including tourists who have thronged the state.

The strike, which began on Monday night, was called by joint coordination committee of unions of HRTC employees to press for long standing demands of clearing retirement dues and converting the corporation back to state roadways.

The strike evoked tremendous response and around 1,900 bus fleet of the corporation remained off the roads.

Blaming the government for the mess in HRTC, Shankar Singh, president joint coordination committee of employees, alleged that privatisation of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), allotting profit making routes to private operators and making it obligatory for the corporation to operate on loss making routes had pushed it into perpetual red.

Singh said the HRTC management had notified the pension scheme to its employees in June 1995, but failed to raise funds for it, and was not disbursing pension to pensioners and other monetary benefits due to working employees in the corporation.

Dues not cleared

He said that while the government employees have been paid full arrears of revised pay scales, the HRTC employees have been paid only Rs 20,000 and a large number of employees had retired without getting their dues.

The employees of Punjab and Haryana Roadways also supported the strike. Reportedly, no HRTC bus was on the road and about 2,400 routes were affected, causing great inconvenience to thousands of passengers. Private buses which did not participate in the strike were overloaded as more than 90 per cent of commuters are dependent on road transport in the state.

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