Kumaraswamy holds stalks; agitation called off barely two hours after it began
BANGALORE: The one-day strike by State Government employees was withdrawn two hours after it began on Thursday following Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's meeting with Karnataka State Government Employees Association (KSGEA) representatives.
Mr. Kumaraswamy promised that their demands will be conceded by March 30.
KSGEA president Seshe Gowda announced shortly after 11.30 a.m. that in view of the assurance, there is no reason to continue with the strike, and announced that it has been called off.
But most Government offices in the city wore a deserted look since many of the employees were on leave according to the strike plan.
By the time those who reported for work got the news, it was post-lunch hour, and few chose to turn up.
The strike did not affect the public much in terms of transport. But patients in government hospitals had a hard time.
Hospital work affected
In Bowring Hospital, the Outpatient Department remained virtually closed. Only the Emergency Ward functioned. Junior doctors sported black badges.
They were supporting the strike as well as expressing solidarity with junior doctors in Maharashtra, who have been on a strike for the past one week. Many who turned up for treatment of minor ailments were left disappointed. The scene was similar at Victoria Hospital too, and the news of the strike being called off made little difference.
The City Police had made arrangements to provide security to those who wanted to report for work. They were carrying out extra checks on vehicles entering the Vidhana Soudha. Even those with vehicle passes were asked to show their identity cards. The three buildings housing the Secretariat Vidhana Soudha-Vikasa Soudha, Multistoried Building and Visvesvaraya Tower wore a deserted look. Those who came to redress their grievances were left disappointed. Many of them had come from far. The withdrawal of the strike did not help them much.
The question is being raised as to why the Karnataka State Government Employees' Association gave a call for a strike on Thursday at all as the present Government and the previous one have been sympathetic to the demands of the employees.
The call for the strike was opposed by the rival association of employees, Akhila Karnataka State Government Employees' Federation. The credibility of the employees' association has taken a beating. Most of the employees all over the State stayed away from their offices to embarrass the Government.