Strike hits KSRTC services partially in Mangalore
Long-distance passengers were a harried lot as most of the buses either did not turn up or turned up late at the KSRTC Bus Stand in Mangalore on Thursday on account of the strike called by the Joint Committee of Trade Unions of Karnataka State Road Transport Undertakings.
As many as 210 State Transport buses pass through the temple-town of Udupi daily. According to three Traffic Controllers at the KSRTC Bus Stand in Udipi, over 20 buses from Hubli, Chikmagalur and Dharmasthala did not arrive at Udupi. Daytime buses to areas such as Chamarajnagar, Yellapur, Karwar, Hubli, Dandeli, Mysore, had not arrived in Udupi.
Hundreds of passengers were inconvenienced. However most of the buses of the Mangalore Division were operating. The Volvo bus service from Mangalore to Manipal was operating, according to officials.
But the situation on the ground was worse. A conductor of the Mangalore-Hubli bus, which arrived here at 10.20 a.m., told passengers, who were anxiously querying him if the bus would indeed reach Hubli, that he could only guarantee the bus reaching the nearest town of Kundapur. Prakash, a conductor of the Mangalore-Sangli bus told The Hindu that his bus which used to reach Udupi at 3.15 p.m. had arrived here at 5.30 p.m. “I have only one passenger in the bus. Normally, there would be a minimum of 20 passengers, he said.
Mahesh, a native of Thimmapur village in Gadag district, who worked in Katipalla near Surathkal, said he was waiting for a bus for Gadag. “My daughter is ill in Thimmapur. I am anxious to go and see her. I am struggling to get a bus,” he said.
Mangalore Correspondent writes: Services of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation were affected partially on Thursday.
While most of the buses left as per schedule, a few buses bound for Bangalore and Mysore were cancelled. There were only a few mechanics working at the four KSRTC depots in Mangalore.
Till around 2 p.m. 120 buses proceeded as per schedule to various destinations, said KSRTC Mangalore Divisional Controller M. Mahesh. Among these were city bus, shuttle and Volvo bus services. One multi-axle bus bound for Bangalore was cancelled and it was replaced by a Volvo bus. “We had to refund passengers the difference (Rs. 40),” he said.
Mr. Mahesh said there has not been any disruption of service in Puttur and Udupi divisions. But there was a problem near Sakleshpur. “Arrangements are being made to send buses in batch of 20 with police escort,” he said.
Sense of uncertainty gripped several passengers who were not sure if the buses were operating. “When I called up in the morning, the KSRTC control room personnel told me that all buses were running. But it was a different situation when I landed here. Drivers and conductors were prompting us to cancel our tickets fearing stoppage midway. There was no help from the officials here,” said Dilawar Singh, who was waiting at the bus stand hoping to catch a Volvo bus to Bangalore by noon.
A conductor said many passengers who had booked ticket on Bangalore-bound multi-axle bus cancelled their trip after being told that the trip had been cancelled. “Only a few passengers are going by this Volvo bus, which replaced the multi-axle bus. There has been poor passenger turn out,” the conductor said.
Asked about the reason for the lukewarm response of employees to the strike in Mangalore, S.L. Patil, a driver, said this was because of efforts made by KSRTC Division officials in putting forward information about increment and other service benefits given by the KSRTC so far. “Moreover, we were also told not to go on strike as it affects common people. We are in public service and we cannot afford to cause problem to people,” he said.