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Haryana Roadways employees went on a four-day strike from today against the Haryana government’s proposal to issue permits to private bus operators. The strike will continue till January 23.
The Haryana Roadways Employees Coordination Committee who has called the four-day strike, has opposed privatisation, outsourcing, contract or PPP system, claimed that the strike was complete on the first day. Passengers were reduced to a harassed lot as all the 34 Volvo buses and more than 300 non-AC buses — run by Haryana Roadways — remained off the roads.
Passengers who had booked tickets in advance had to get their tickets cancelled.
Those passengers who had to visit Delhi and other places in Haryana had to opt for buses operated by Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) or Punjab Roadways, which were overcrowded. Yogesh Khari and Kapil, who came from Delhi and had to return today only, said: “We did not have any idea that there would be a strike. We wanted to travel by Volvo, but were told that no buses from Haryana Roadways will ply today.” Another passenger, Pawan, who came to Chandigarh for an official work said: “I have to reach Delhi urgently. But none of the buses of Haryana Roadways are plying and the buses of Punjab Roadways were so crowded that I could not board them. Now, I am stranded.”
All the passengers who had tickets in buses operated by Haryana Roadways had to shift to those run by Punjab, which led to the overcrowding. Temzing, who came from Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh and had to go to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, said: “My brother is coming from USA and I have to meet him. I had a booking in a Volvo bus, but after reaching here I came to know that there will be no buses plying today. Now I am going to railway station and will check if I can get a ticket in some train.”
Passengers at the Panchkula bus station also faced lots of problem due to the strike. Vijit Hooda, a Class XI student of a government school in Sector 19 Chandigarh, travels daily from Ramgarh to his school. With no intimation about the strike, Vijit said had to travel by CTU bus “that was heavily crowded”. Then, he took an auto to reach school.
Around 11 Haryana Roadways buses were found parked at Sector 14 police station. Sources told Newsline that the bus staff had planned to run the buses post midnight along with police security. However, the drivers never turned up till morning. Police officials, however, claimed that the buses had been standing there as the drivers wanted to safeguard the buses from any possible violence during the strike.
Meanwhile, private buses took advantage of the situation to earn extra money and minimise the effects of strike by running their buses on long routes against their permitted short routes.