The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)-led union of the State transport employees held a rally here on Friday in support of their long-pending demands, disrupting the city traffic and the State transport services. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) said that 12 per cent of the services were cancelled, which led to nearly eight per cent loss in their daily earnings.
Over 20,000 employees of the ST from across the State participated in the rally which started from Mumbai Central here and ended at Azad Maidan where the union leaders addressed them. The Mumbai Police denied permission to the organisers to hold a rally from Mumbai Central.
“They only had permission to hold a rally at Azad Maidan. Thus, a case has been registered against the organisers at Nagpada police station. They have been booked under sections 37(1)(3) and 135 of the Bombay Police Act,” Krishna Prakash, Additional Commissioner of Police (South region), told The Hindu. Thousands of enthusiastic protestors raised slogans at the rally. The employees demanded 40 per cent grade pay, increase in allowances. They also demanded that the government should pay Rs. 160 crore due to the MSRTC. “Nothing has been done between 2000 and 2008. This is not an attempt to show our strength. About 98 per cent of these employees are neck-deep in loans because what the government pays them is not sufficient,” MNS leader Avinash Abhyankar said.
The organisers claimed that nearly 35,000 employees across the State participated in the rally. The MSRTC faced losses of Rs. 95-98 lakh due to the mass leave, a corporation official said.
“But none of our 248 depots remained closed. All of them were functional,” he said, adding that the MSRTC had already sent the demands to the government which was considering them sympathetically.