Anti-people policies’ put brakes on roadways buses
Haryana Roadways buses remained off roads, banking and insurance services were affected and functioning of government offices was hit following the nationwide strike call given by 10 major trade unions today.
The strike evoked a mixed response in Haryana. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions, however, were open in most parts of the state. The strike was against new labour laws and privatisation of bus routes.
Though the All-Haryana Roadways’ Workers Joint Action Committee had called off today’s strike following their meeting with Transport Minister Krishan Panwar on August 31, the coordination committee of various other unions supported the strike.
Sarbat Singh Punia, president of the Haryana Roadways Workers Union affiliated to the Sarva Karamchari Sangh, claimed more than 3 lakh regular and temporary government employees participated in today’s strike.
“Nearly 4,000 roadways buses did not ply and more than 20,000 workers participated in the strike,” he claimed. In Sirsa, efforts of the authorities to send early morning buses to Chandigarh and Delhi were foiled by roadways employees. When a Chandigarh-bound bus was brought out of the depot with the intervention of Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Paramjit Singh Chahal, the employees laid in front of it, forcing the authorities to abandon their plan.
At Fatehabad, the impact strike by roadways employees was almost total. District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) Suresh Koth, however, claimed 18 per cent of the buses plied.
Thousands of commuters dependent on the state transport service were stranded as a result of ‘chakka jam’ by the roadways employees here today. The Haryana Roadways Workers Union described the strike a success. “None of the 310 buses of the local depot plied,” claimed Ramashray Singh, general secretary of the union.
Roadways employees here did not participate in the strike. All 105 buses of the local depot plied. Raman Saini, vice-president, Haryana Roadways Employees Union associated with the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, said that after a meeting with Transport Minister Panwar in Panipat August 31, the union decided not to participate in the strike.
The impact of the strike was complete as employees in most of the government offices, including that of the Deputy Commissioner and SDMs, sat on a dharna outside their respective offices. The supply of electricity and water was not disrupted, while functioning in government hospital remained unaffected.
The public transport service remained paralysed throughout the day here. The district roadways authorities, however, claimed to have plied 39 out of 160 buses. In view of the strike, private buses and jeeps did brisk business, and carried passengers more than their capacity.
The strike evoked a good response in the district with the bus stand and government offices wearing a deserted look today. A few buses plying on long routes — Chandigarh, Mathura and Delhi — set out from the local depot early this morning, but were soon stopped by striking employees in spite of the presence of police and administrative officials.
The strike had little impact in Karnal and Panipat. The public transport service was not affected in Karnal, as out of 176 buses of the local depot, 135 plied. However, scores of workers of various departments, including that of the UHBVN and Municipal Corporation, remained on strike. Several banks in both districts remained closed. Some of the ATMs went dry.
City residents had a tough time because of the nationwide strike by government employees, especially workers of Haryana Roadways. Hundreds of commuters were left high and dry as buses did not ply.
The non-teaching staff of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) and the PGIMS participated in the strike.
CPM state secretary Surender Singh said: “The massive participation of government employees, and workers of organised and unorganised sectors means they have rejected anti-people policies of the Centre and state.”
The strike evoked a mixed response in the district. Attendance was thin in several educational institutions and government offices. Nearly 80 buses of the local bus depot remained off roads. Passengers were stranded at bus stands in Yamunanagar and Jagadhri.
Residents had a tough time in commuting as roadways buses stayed off roads in the district. The worst hit were those headed to Chandigarh. They rushed to ISBT, Delhi. Transport employees’ unions have observed strike four times in two-and-a-half years, opposing attempts to issue bus permits to private players.
The public transport service was partially affected in the district. More than 60 roadways buses plied on time. Rohtash Singh, General Manager, Haryana Roadways, said: “Arrangements have been made to ensure that passengers don’t face inconvenience.”
There was a mixed response to the strike call. Some roadways unions supported the strike, while others did not participate. LIC employees went on strike and raised slogans in support of their demands. They and other government employees took out processions in the city. The impact of the strike on banks was partial.
3 lakh Regular and temporary government employees participated in the strike
20,000 Haryana Roadways workers participated in the nationwide strike
4,000 Haryana Roadways buses did not ply across the state