Today's Paper

Private bus owners firm on strike

Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Private Bus Owners Federation has said that private buses affiliated to the federation will not run from Monday night although they are not participating in the indefinite strike called by the Bus Coordination Committee.

Federation president M. Khalid Mundappilly and general secretary P. K. Pavithran told a press conference here on Monday that "we will not participate in the indefinite strike, but our buses will not ply. It is to maintain unity among the operators."

Mr. Mundappilly said the decision to go on strike without giving any time for the Government to convene talks had landed the private bus operators in utter confusion.

"The strike is untimely and has been convened at a time when the private bus owners are facing crisis and finding it difficult to operate the buses," the federation president said.

The committee announced the strike despite the assurance given by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister for Transport N. Shaktan that they would convene a meeting to discuss their charter of demands after November 19.

Instead of going for a nominal fare hike, the Government should impose restriction on granting of new bus permits, withdraw the rule that fixes 15years as the life of a bus and take steps to reduce student concession to 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Private Bus Owners and Operators Federation announced that they would not participate in the indefinite strike as it was aimed at securing only a "nominal hike in bus fare."

Secretary of the federation A. M. Shaheer and others told a press conference here that they would not join the strike called by the Coordination committee of the private bus owners.

"We are not interested in the strike aimed at securing bus fare hike."

To a query, the federation leaders said they had not been invited for the talks convened by the Chief Minister and the Minister for Transport on Tuesday with the representatives of the agitating bus operators.