Commuters suffer as Haryana Roadways strike continues for 2nd day

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Chandigarh, April 11 (IANS) Thousands of commuters suffered inconvenience for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as Haryana Roadways employees continued with their strike as their parleys with the state government failed to break the logjam.

The striking employees are demanding a rollback on a recent Transport Department policy under which private bus owners were allowed more permits to operate services across Haryana.

Their leader threatened to continue with the strike till their demand was accepted unconditionally.

Over 13 lakh people travel daily in nearly 4,200 Haryana Roadways buses, including luxury Volvo buses, on intra- and inter-state routes.

Protesting roadways staff stopped private buses from plying at some places, leading to more difficulties for commuters.

Owners of private taxis, auto-rickshaws and other modes of transport made hay due to the strike.

Haryana Roadways Employees Union President Sarbat Singh Punia said the parleys with the Haryana government failed as the latter was adamant on issuance of permits to private bus operators.

Punia said three rounds of talks with the government, including Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar, on Tuesday failed to break the deadlock.

“They said permits had been issued to 853 private buses on 273 routes and there would be no review. We are demanding that these permits should be revoked,” Punia said.

Demanding that the government expand the roadways fleet instead of giving permits to private operators, Punia said the strike will continue till the government accepted their demand unconditionally.

Transport Minister Panwar said the interests of roadways employees as well as the people of the state are of paramount importance for the state government, which is always ready to hold talks with employee unions.

Interacting with the media here, Panwar said they striking employees are objecting to the policy dated February 17.

He said 853 private buses are presently operating on 273 routes and all operators have got their permits made afresh.

“Priority was given to those already operating buses. These included 80 per cent old permit holders and routes. Apart from this, 1,669 other applications were received. No new route has been assigned to anyone.”

He said 600 new buses were being added to the roadways fleet of 4,200.

–IANS

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