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Transport Employees Stir in Karnataka Enters Second Day; Bus Services Hit

Karnataka State Road Transportation buses. (ANI)

Karnataka State Road Transportation buses. (ANI)

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa appealed to the protesters to resume their work. "I appeal to the protesters to please go back to the work," Yediyurappa said.

Members of the public suffered as thousands of employees of state-owned transport corporations continued their strike for a second day here on Friday pressing various demands resulting in disruption of services. Thousands of government buses did not operate due to the stir by transport corporation employees demanding salaries on par with state government employees among others.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa appealed to the protesters to resume their work. "I appeal to the protesters to please go back to the work," Yediyurappa said.

According to sources in the transport department, no BMTC bus was operated in the city whereas 50 per cent of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and 35 per cent of other transport corporations buses were operational on Friday. The agitation was by and large peaceful barring a few sporadic incidents of stone pelting on government buses at Nelamangala in Bengaluru, Kalaburagi city and Channapatna in Ramanagar district.

Members of the public suffered as the transport system in the city was badly hit as all buses operated by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation did not ply from the Central Bus Stand, Traffic and Transit Management Centres at various locations, big bus stands and various depots. Many commuters including students and passengers from other parts of the country were stranded at the Central bus stand and other bus stands in the city as buses stayed off roads owing to the strike.

Passengers who had booked tickets in KSRTC buses to other parts of the state reached the bus stand only to find services affected. At Yeshwanthpur in the city, the agitating employees staged a unique protest by cooking food on the road and ate on the road under the sun.

To break the logjam, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who holds the transport portfolio, convened a meeting with leaders of the transport corporation employees unions and appealed to them to give up the strike in Bengaluru. Later speaking to reporters, Savadi said, "I told the union leaders that people have already faced lots of trouble due to the coronavirus. Now when they are getting a little breather, the transport department employees should not trouble them further." Assuring the employees that the government was keen to consider their demands sympathetically, he said the union leaders should remember that the government had paid their salaries even during the lockdown when the buses did not operate.

"The corporations have suffered a loss of about Rs 3,000 crore. However, arrangements were made to pay the salary of employees of the corporations. Salaries have been paid in cooperation with the government and the corporations. In another state, there was a pay cut of up to 25 percent, we have paid full wages without causing any trouble to our employees," Laxman Savadi said in a statement. A meeting of officials has been convened to consider the demands of the employees, he added.

"Protests have caused trouble to the public, he said adding a new arrangement cannot be made all of a sudden."PTI GMS SS .

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first published:December 11, 2020, 15:24 IST