School van drivers, who stayed off the roads on Wednesday, sending thousands of students and their parents into a tizzy, are expected to continue their strike on Thursday also.
Most of the 16,000 private vans and autorickshaws had stayed off the road on Wednesday in response to the call given by Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicle Drivers Union in protest against the penalties mandated by the Transport Department, which includes mandatorily retiring school vehicles more than 15 years old.
Union president T.S. Shanmugam told The Hindu school cabs will not return to the roads till the State government meets their demands. Expressing strong opposition to the cap on the vehicles’ age, he said they will stay off the roads until the Transport Department extends the deadline to implement the guidelines or calls for conciliatory talks.
“We have sought an appointment with Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy to present our grievances,” Mr. Shanmugam said, adding that their decision to return to the roads will depend on the government’s response. He took pains to say it was not a strike but that they were compelled to stay off the roads as the police was imposing penalties on them.
On Wednesday, a large number of students were ferried to their respective schools by their parents, causing traffic snarls around schools. Several students were late to school as they were not informed about their cabs going off the road. Students who took their own school buses were not affected.