Updated: November 8, 2021 1:31:08 am
COMMUTERS USING public transport buses during Diwali had to face a harrowing time with no end to the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employee strike, which saw almost 129 of the 250 depots shut on Sunday.
A section of the cash-strapped MSRTC employees are on strike demanding the merger of the corporation with the state government to avail the benefits of being government employees.
Though the demand for the merger was long pending, the delay in payment of salaries due to the Covid-induced lockdown and the suicide of over 30 employees triggered a spontaneous agitation last week. The state government and the corporation accepted most of the demands made by the employees and after which many resumed work, but since the issue of merging the corporation with the state government was not resolved, the unannounced agitation/strike started at random depots.
Owing to the unannounced strike since October 28, buses in several cities were unavailable during the festive season making it difficult for citizens to travel and had to face overcharging by the private transporters.
According to the sources in the unions, around 129 depots were not operational in the state on Sunday and over 40 per cent of bus services had to be cancelled due to the strike. The sources said the number of non-operational depots is likely to increase on Monday when the Bombay High Court will hear the matter.
The Marathwada, North Maharashtra and Vidarbha were the most-affected areas by the strike.
Earlier, the Sangharsh ST Kamgar Union did not participate in the strike, however, on Sunday the union showed its solidarity with the strike and extended support in a press release. “The state government should not waste time in forming a committee but instead should take concrete decisions on the demand of ST employees to merge ST Corporation with the state government,” a release issued by Rao’s union stated.
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday had directed all employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation to refrain from proceeding with the proposed strike or stoppage of work from November 3 midnight until further orders. The court said that the move would cause “hardships” to the people, who have planned to travel by the state transport’s buses during Diwali .
Anil Parab, state Transport Minister, had also assured on November 3 that the discussion on the merger of MSRTC in the state government and the other related issues will be taken up after Diwali.
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