Officials claim 40-45% of scheduled bus services being operated

Passengers arrive to board KSRTC bus, from Mysuru Road Satellite Bus stand. File   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

The bus strike by employees of Road Transport Corporations (RTCs) is set to enter its 13th day on Monday. Meanwhile, officials claim that more employees are reporting back to duty and 40 to 45% of scheduled services are being operated as of Sunday.

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Managing Director Shivyogi C. Kalasad told The Hindu that all the corporations are running 500 to 1,000 additional buses per day. On the first day of strike, RTCs had operated 236 buses. After a week (on April 13), operations touched 2,445, and on Sunday, more than 7,500 buses hit the road.

“Running more and more buses is an indication that employees are reporting back to duty. On Sunday, the KSRTC managed to run 50% of scheduled services and all the four corporations managed to operate 40 to 45% of the services. On Monday, we may add 1,000 more buses,” he said.

“Though we have a fleet size of 20,000 buses, all were not operational prior to the strike. A majority of the AC buses remained off road due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Within a few days, we will manage to run buses which were operational prior to the strike,” he said. The official further added that that ridership for existing services remains low and corporations are meeting the diesel cost.

Hunger strike

Meanwhile, Kodihalli Chandrashekar, Honorary President, Karnataka State Road Transport Employees’ League, said that on Monday, employees will observe a hunger strike at the district level. “The State government has been adamant and is not us showing the minimum courtesy of holding talks with employees,” he said.

Asked if the increasing number of services spells a setback for the ongoing strike, he alleged that the authorities are using depot managers and other staff to pressurise employees to report back to duty and running only 8 to 10% of the buses. He accused the RTCs of using private bus drivers to operate buses.

The KSRTC MD dismissed these allegations . “After the Jamkhandi incident where a NWKRTC driver was killed while driving a bus, bus crew are driving buses in civil clothes to hide their identity. Drivers driving RTCs buses are our employees,” he maintained.

From April 7 to 18, 176 FIRs were filed against 394 employees for damaging buses, obstructing and assaulting colleagues who reported back to duty and others. The police have arrested 88 employees. Till Sunday, miscreants have pelted stones at 105 buses on the roads.

Driver injured in stone pelting

A gang of three pelted stones at a moving BMTC bus as a result of which the driver sustained head injuries at Vigneshwaranagar bus stop in Kamakshipalya on Sunday evening.

Tension gripped the area for a while following the incident and Hoysala patrolling police rushed to the spot and shifted the injured driver to the hospital.

The injured has been identified as Nanjunde Gowda, 43, a resident of Jalahalli.

A senior police officer said that around 4.15 p.m., the bus was heading towards Jalahalli and three men intercepted the bus and pelted stones. The front glass was damaged and the driver sustained severe injuries and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

The incident was caught on CCTV cameras and the police have identified the accused.

Efforts are on to nab them.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 7:14:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/officials-claim-40-45-of-scheduled-bus-services-being-operated/article34353919.ece

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