The Haryana Roadways employee unions Wednesday announced their decision to continue their strike after talks between union leaders and Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar failed to yield any results. Wednesday was the ninth day of the strike.
Earlier, similar talks between the agitators and senior officers had failed on Sunday. On October 16, the roadways employees had gone on strike to oppose hiring of 720 private buses to be inducted into the Haryana Roadways fleet on kilometre basis terming it an attempt of privatisation.
The employee unions have been called for the talks at a time when the employees of other departments have also started joining the agitation against Haryana while extending support to the roadways employees.
A senior leader of Sarv Karamchari Sangh (SKS) Subhash Lamba told The Indian Express that the employees of all departments may go on strike if the government did not listen to the voice of the roadways employees by October 26.
The roadways employees have offered 10 per cent of their salary to purchase buses for Haryana Roadways fleet while opposing any move to hire buses on kilometre buses. Union leaders claim that the Haryana government has hired private buses on much higher rates compared to neighbouring Punjab.
“There is a possibility of a major scam in the introduction of this scheme, but two officers are bent upon implementing the scheme to benefit a transporter. These officers are also misguiding the Chief Minister,” alleged Sarbat Singh Punia, a senior leader of the roadways employees.
However, Haryana Additional Chief Secretary Dhanpat Singh has already said that the government was ready to hold the probe to inquire process of hiring the private buses claiming that a transparent system was adopted for hiring the buses.
A spokesperson of the Haryana Transport Department said, “The kilometre scheme is meant to add more buses in the fleet of Haryana Roadways and this scheme would not have any adverse effect on any employee of the department.”
He said under this scheme, the conductor would be of the department who would issue tickets to the passengers and the revenue thus collected would be deposited to the state exchequer only.
According to him, the buses plying under this scheme would have permit of Haryana Roadways and the time table and route would also be decided by the Department only.
“The implementation of this scheme would increase transport service which would be in favour of passengers and the State Government. Under this scheme, the driver would be of the bus owner and the salary, maintenance, insurance and GST tax would be borne by the transporter. Also, the expenses of diesel would be borne by the bus owner,” he added.