Maha Transport Strike: Commuters, staff urges govt. to take action

MSRTC ST

Thousands of passengers are going to face hardship in traveling to their home town on the eve of Diwali as the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees have made a decision to go on a strike on the demand of salary hike.

Meanwhile, Dileep, a member of a staff union said that he, along with other unions, called the strike after the government did not pay any attention to their demands. Amid this chaos, the Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, posted for hearing on Friday two public interest litigations (PILs) filed against the ongoing indefinite strike.

The strike amid the festive season of Diwali has left thousands of passengers stranded at various bus stations across the state.

A student, Devaki Mulay, said, "I belong to a village in the Konkan region and for me travelling by state transport buses is the most convenient option".

Although the buses have not moved an inch, the passengers are sitting in hope that the strike will end and they may be able to reach their respective destinations.

Around 1 lakh employees of the MSRTC have gone on an indefinite strike demanding that their salaries be revised based on the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. The state transport buses stayed off the roads, causing inconvenience to passengers. "Now, I have no patience to wait and have chose to travel by a cab instead", he added. Every day, it ferries more than 60 lakh passengers on intra-city and inter-city routes, besides providing bus services in Vasai-Virar, Nalasopara and Nashik. A discussion on whether to continue the strike on Thursday was going on till the filing of this report.

"We are relying on a government notification and court orders wherein it is specifically held that employees working in essential services for public at large, can not go on strikes". The workers have launched the strike after negotiations with the state government failed.

The MSRTC has told the employees to resume work by Wednesday morning, failing which they will face strict action. "They should not hold people to ransom during Diwali time just to get their demands fulfilled", he said. The MSRTC runs 18,000 buses, some of which go to far-flung areas not connected by rail network.

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