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Karnataka bus strike called off after HC rap

The move comes a day after the Karnataka High Court observed that the workers had chosen the "worst time to go on a strike" citing the pandemic

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
April 22, 2021 9:30:55 am
Bengaluru: Private buses deployed at Kempegowda bus stand for public transport during a strike by KSRTC and BMTC employees, in Bengaluru, Friday, April 9, 2021. (PTI)

The Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League called off their two-week-long strike on Wednesday.

The move comes a day after the Karnataka High Court observed that the workers had chosen the “worst time to go on a strike” citing the pandemic. The court also issued a notice to Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League.

Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, who is also honorary president of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Employees League leading the strike, said: “We have decided to temporarily withdraw the strike respecting the high court order.”

“The Karnataka High Court intervened noting that in the interests of the general public employees should immediately report back to duty. We respect what the court has said. The strike has been postponed temporarily, the workers will resume to work from Thursday. That doesn’t mean our struggle ends,” he added.

Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi in a statement thanked employees who reported back to duty. “From Thursday, all four corporations will be able to ply buses as per the schedule. Buses will be operated as per the new COVID-19 guidelines During night and weekend curfew, buses will be operated as per demand.”

The workers of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC), and North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), under the banner of Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League, have called for an indefinite strike starting from April 7, demanding that the government implement a salary system as per the 6th Pay Commission for workers of state transport undertakings.

During the strike, 119 buses were damaged. These include KSRTC (73), BMTC (6), NWKRTC (13), and NEKRTC (27). According to officials, revenue loss to four transport corporations is around Rs 287 crore. This includes KSRTC (Rs 122.5 crore), BMTC (Rs 45 crore), NWKRTC (Rs 57.5 crore) NEKRTC (Rs 62 crore).

During the protest, the state government has made alternate arrangements by roping in private transport operators to mitigate the impact of the strike.

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