City commuters who use CTU buses daily were left at the mercy of the auto rickshaw drivers as more than 300 local buses operated by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking remained off road for six hours on Thursday after CTU workers went on strike again.
Passengers were found waiting at ISBT 43 and ISBT 17 for hours. This was the second strike in less than a month by CTU workers who are demanding new buses. Adding to the harassment of the commuters were the arbitrary fare demanded by the the autorickshaws. As the buses were not plying between 10 am and 4 pm,the only option left to people was of hiring an auto. I have to go to PGI to visit a family member but I am stuck here. Autorickshaws are demanding Rs 150 which is too much, said Sunita Mishra,a city resident.
Students were worst hit by the strike. With limited cash in their pocket and most of them travelling on bus pass,they waited till the strike got over. Shivam Jha,a student of Model School in Sector 21,said,I live near the Chandigarh airport and take the bus everyday. When I left in the morning,I had no clue that buses wont ply till 4 pm. I do not have enough money to take an auto either.
When asked if any action will be taken against the workers who are repeatedly going on strike,CTU director TPS Phulka said,We have issued notice to them regarding the strike and we are thinking of implementing a No work No pay policy. Why are they not getting new buses. Our drivers are forced to drive condemned buses. More than 130 condemned buses are plying on the road,said Bhupinder Singh,president of CTU Worker Union.
Singh added,Everytime they are floating a tender it is failing. I ask them what is the need of buying buses through tender system. Earlier,the buses were bought without issuing tenders. When asked if he doesn’t feel that tender system ensure more transparency and fair play Singh said,No I think the previous system was good and CTU purchased some really good buses then.
Phulka said,We accept that new buses are required but we have to follow certain procedure and guidelines and we cannot act in an arbitrary manner. He further added,We are again preparing new tenders and this time we are trying to accommodate the concerns of both CTU and the companies participating in the bid. We are devising a middle way and hope that it would materialise this time.