Urges trade unions to ensure normal movement of public transport; DTC cancels leave of staff

Eager to blunt the impact of the two-day nation-wide strike called by the Left and supported by the Sangh-backed organisations, the Congress Government in Delhi has enlisted the support of its trade associations and transport unions to ensure normal movement of the public transport on Wednesday and Thursday. It has also announced full operations by Delhi Transport Corporation and urged the Delhi Police to provide a security cover to its vehicles.

Following a meeting with the representatives of DTC Employees’ Congress, Delhi Parivahan Mazdoor Sangh, DTC Workers’ Union and DTC Unity Centre, the Government said they have agreed not to participate in the strike.

In the meantime, the auto unions owing allegiance to the Congress have also decided to keep their vehicles on the roads. Kishen Verma of the All-Delhi Auto-Taxi Transporters’ Congress Union said he was confident that the impact of the strike would be limited. “At least the autos, taxis and Gramin Sewa vehicles belonging to Congress-backed associations would ply. It is another matter though that most of the owners and drivers would be wary of violence.”

Mr. Verma said there are a total of 68,000 auto-rickshaws, 10,000 black-and-yellow metered taxis and about 3,500 radio taxis in Delhi. Apart from this, there are about 6,000 vehicles which ply under the Gramin Sewa. He claimed the Congress-backed unions have members in about half of these.

Delhi Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami, who met various association leaders, issued detailed instructions to ensure that passengers were not inconvenienced by the strike. He met senior DTC officers to review the arrangements for the strike period.

Thereafter, it was announced that DTC has “taken all preventive and safety measures in advance to avoid any kind of untoward incident and for providing smooth public transport to its passengers”.

As part of the move, the Corporation has directed its Depot Managers and Regional Managers to ensure that maximum number of buses remained in operation during the day.

The Corporation has also directed all its employees not to proceed on leave and declared that all leave already sanctioned, other than on medical grounds, has also been cancelled.

“The absence of the staff on these two days will be treated as unauthorised absence and disciplinary action shall be taken against such staff,” it cautioned.

The Depot Managers have also been instructed to remain mobile within their respective area to regulate the operation of vehicles and ensure traffic clearance at heavy loading points like hospitals, railway stations and ISBTs.

Realising that auto and taxi operations could get disrupted due to the strike, DTC has for the next two days allowed commuters to carry their luggage in buses bound to and fro the railway stations and ISBTs. It has also instructed the staff of these buses to halt properly and to take special care of senior citizens, sick and lady passengers.

Apprehending violence during the strike, the DTC has also arranged for extra “recovery vans” to attend to any damage to buses or deflation of their tyres. Even the vehicle manufacturers have been brought into the loop and asked to provide maximum number of buses and to make adequate arrangements for cranes and recovery vans to carry out prompt evacuation or repairs.

Mr. Goswami said DTC has also urged the police to deploy sufficient police personnel near DTC depots, bus terminals and important bus stops to ensure safety of the buses and passengers.

He said the bus crew and other on-line traffic supervisory staff have also been instructed to immediately inform the Delhi Police in the event of any kind of violence or damage to the vehicles.

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