Most of the agitating DTC staff called off their strike Tuesday evening after the son of the murdered driver met the chief minister and agreed to the compensation package offered to the family. The deal comes as a big relief to lakhs of bus riders, who have faced two days of harrowing commutes in this summer’s worst heat so far.
Earlier in the day, the government invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act and threatened the employees with termination if they did not immediately resume their duties. The flash strike was started by a road rage incident on Sunday in which a motorcyclist beat DTC driver Ashok Kumar Singh to death after their vehicles had a minor brush. Both the young accused and his mother, who reportedly encouraged the attack, are in custody now.
The unions had been demanding Rs 1 crore and a job for the dead man’s son in compensation. On Tuesday, AAP leaders made efforts to get the family members on their side and Ashok’s son Ajay met CM Arvind Kejriwal at Delhi Secretariat.
Coming out of the meeting, Ajay said the family was satisfied with the offer made to him. “The CM promised that I will be given a job and the government will bear the expenditure of my sister’s education and wedding. My father’s salary will also be given to my ailing mother,” he said.
The cash compensation to the family has been raised from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. The government has also decided to bear all the medical expenses of Ashok’s widow, Ajay confirmed.
By evening, many DTC buses were back on the road, but the Rohini depot, where Ashok was employed and which had become the scene of much of the protest since Sunday, remained closed. Transport minister Gopal Rai had, in the morning, made it clear that stern action would be taken against those who continue the strike. “It is a politically motivated strike… We will provide for them and take care of education as well. If the family needs anything, we will provide them help,” Rai said.