Strike chokes transport network

Strike chokes transport network

Buses damaged in several places; services normal in some regions

Strike chokes transport network

 The response to the bundh called by the employees’ unions of the state road transport corporations was near total on Thursday.

There were reports of violence and damage to buses in several districts, even as commuters were fleeced by private transporters. Many union members were arrested by the police.

Twelve KSRTC buses were damaged in violence that followed the strike.
The Chintamani police arrested four members of the joint committee in view of the strike call, and all of them were released later. Eight buses which left the Chintamani depot (Chikkaballapur district) were recalled.

Some protesters were arrested and later released in Malur taluk. Two KSRTC buses at Jaderi Cross in Srinivaspur and one bus each at Mandikal in Mulbagal taluk and Anandagiri near Bangarpet were pelted with stones. The impact of the strike was not felt much in Mulbagal taluk as a majority of the people depend on private transport in the taluk.

A woman conductor who came for work at 10.30 am to the new bus stand in Kolar was verbally abused by a KSRTC staff member. When the police tried to arrest him, the union members protested, leading to caning by police. The police resorted to caning again on the Gulpet police station premises in the evening, when the union members held a protest against two of the arrested being remanded in judicial custody. 

Mysore region

In Mysore, protesters threw stones at a KSRTC bus at Shivarathreeshwara Circle and two motorcycle-borne men waylaid a bus and forced the driver to stop at Nanjumalige Circle on the Mysore -Manandavadi Road.

KSRP platoons were deployed at the city bus stand and suburban stand. Eight buses belonging to the Chamarajanagar depot were pelted with stones at Tandavapura on the Mysore-Nanjangud road in the afternoon.

Services resumed in the evening under police security. Barring two minor incidents of stone throwing on the bypass road, no untoward incidents were reported in Hassan district.

A few miscreants damaged a high-end KSRTC bus proceeding to Shimoga from Bangalore, near Jedikatte on the outskirts of Bhadravati. The driver sustained injuries and was given treatment at McGann Hospital.

Partial response

The indefinite strike by employees of the North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) evoked a partial response in Hyderabad-Karnataka (H-K) region.

While the services remained badly affected in the districts of Bidar, Gulbarga and Yadgir, there was a partial running of services in Raichur, Koppal, Bellary and Bijapur districts.

Siddanna Palki, vice president of the KSRTC Staff and Workers Federation, alleged that in Koppal, Raichur and Bellary districts, the NEKRTC officials were visiting the homes of conductors and drivers and warning them of dire consequences if they did not report for duty. He said 50 per cent of the services were operated in these districts due to the “reign of terror” unleashed by the authorities.

NEKRTC managing director Shivamurthy claimed that out of the 3,500 schedules run every day, about 2,500 were operated on Thursday. He said 11 vehicles were damaged in stone-throwing incidents in various districts. The police had arrested seven leaders of the trade unions on Wednesday and they have not been released yet.

Poor response

The strike had little impact in Dakshina Kannada district with buses plying as usual on Thursday. Barring two incidents, in which two buses were damaged by a group of union members near Dharmasthala and a protest by the employees near Gundia, bus services were normal in the district.

Though there were delays in the arrival of buses from other districts, the departure of most of the buses was on time. A majority of drivers and conductors from Mangalore and Puttur divisions reported for duty and did not support the strike. However, KSRTC cancelled six Volvo buses to Bangalore due to lack of passenger reservations.

The strike did not receive positive response in Udupi and Kodagu districts. Buses plied as usual in Kodagu. Though the bus services to other districts were affected, local buses plied as usual.

With KSRTC employees staying away from duty, bus services were badly hit in Chikmagalur on Thursday. The district administration has decided to make alternative bus arrangements in the district on Friday. The private bus owners have been given permission to ply the buses on the main roads of the city and they have also been asked to ply additional trips.

Business as usual

The strike did not evoke any response in North Karnataka, while it received good support in Davangere and Shimoga districts.

Buses plied as usual in most parts of North Karnataka. The strike did not have much impact on bus services in Bijapur, Bagalkot, Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri and Bellary districts. Passengers were put to inconvenience in Shimoga and Davangere as KSRTC employees struck work.

More than 100 union members and leaders in Bellary and 13 in Davangere were arrested when they tried to prevent buses from leaving the depots. Thirteen buses of NWKRTC were pelted with stones by protesting employees. Though some drivers reported for duty, they did not take buses out of the depots fearing attacks.

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