Haryana bans strike by transport employees

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Chandigarh, Aug 30 (IANS) The Haryana government on Thursday invoked ESMA to ban strike by employees of the state transport department who in the past few months have gone on strike putting thousands of passengers to inconvenience.

The ban comes into force with immediate effect and will remain in force for six months under Haryana Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1974, a state government spokesman said here.

“Any strike by them would gravely affect public safety and commuting of passengers, which is an essential service to the community and is likely to ultimately affect the supply of essential services to the public in the state. Thus, it was necessary to prohibit the strike and the decision has been taken in public interest,” the spokesman said.

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The last strike by transport department staff was on August 7. Thousands of people had to suffer as the Haryana Roadways staff went on strike in support of their demands.

The inter-city public transport system was badly affected due to the strike. Passengers were forced to pay higher fares on private buses and taxis to reach their destinations.

Haryana Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar said that earlier this month that the state government had held a meeting with office-bearers of the workers’ unions in July where 33 out of their 34 demands were accepted.

The striking roadways staff are opposing the move to privatise public transport services.

“There is no proposal to privatize roadways services. Presently, about 500 buses of the department and 950 buses of cooperative societies are plying smoothly in the state. I am in constant touch with officers and the state government is making concerted efforts to ensure that the people do not face any inconvenience,” the minister had said, adding that privatisation was not being done.

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“Haryana Roadways has a fleet of 4,100 buses. The state government added 600 buses to the fleet in 2017-18 and it has been decided to add 650 buses during 2018-19. The Chief Minister has approved this proposal and now the matter would be sent to the High Power Purchase Committee,” Panwar pointed out.

He said every year about 250 to 300 buses outlived their shelf life and these were declared waste on the completion of seven years or for having covered eight lakh kilometres.

He said that the decision to hire buses was taken by the state cabinet in the interest of passengers.

As per the department about 33 lakh people use the state transport facility daily, whereas the roadways has been providing services to only 12.5 lakh people.

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“There is need to run about 15,000 buses every day, but the state government is unable to purchase such a large number of buses at one go,” the minister had pointed out.

–IANS

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