For the second day the commuters on the streets of Delhi faced tremendous hardships as the DTC bus drivers continued their strike after a DTC bus driver was bludgeoned to death in a road rage incident on Sunday. The day-long strike started on Monday not just took toll on the lakhs of common commuters and office goers but also affected the school going children for many schools in Delhi use DTC buses as a prime means of transportation.
The strike has been triggered after a DTC bus driver Ashok Kumar, 42, was beaten with helmets by the motorcyclists in an incident of road rage in the Mundka area of West Delhi, after his bus grazed the youth’s bike. The union of DTC bus drivers reacted to the incident by seeking immediate relief to the family of the deceased driver. Further, the Union has also demanded adequate safety measures for the DTC bus driver.
On the backfoot with drivers of the main transport fleet unrelenting, the Aam Aadmi Party led-Delhi government resorted to the seldom used strict measure Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the agitating staff.
“Under provision of ESMA, services of striking employees will be terminated if they don’t turn up for work. If any employee disrupts government work then they can be arrested also,” a senior officer of DTC told the Press.
As Kejriwal-led government eyed to pressurise the striking DTC drivers union to resume services, the bus drivers refused to stop their strike. They said the strike will continue till their demands are met.
The deceased driver’s family too joined the striking union and demanded a compensation of Rs. 1 crore together with a permanent job for a member of the family. The AAP led Arvind Kejriwal government had announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victims family.
“Ashok Kumar didn’t die in an accident but was murdered while he was on duty. Rs 5 lakh is no compensation to pay for his life. When Delhi Government can pay Rs 1 crore to Delhi police martyr, which does not comes under their jurisdiction then why can’t they par Rs 1 crore to their bus driver,” said Rampath Kasana of Delhi Parivahan Mazdoor Sangh.
As a result of the strike, Delhiites were hard hit as all the means of transportation witnessed rush ranging from Delhi metro to auto rickshaw. Cases of extra charges by the auto rickshaws were reported from different parts of the city.
The Delhi government accused BJP of encouraging the DTC employees to launch the strike.
“BJP is doing politics over the issue. BJP has provoked DTC workers to go on strike. We held a meeting with the police officials and have decided to give security to DTC employees who want to operate the buses,” said Gopal Rai, Delhi Transport Minister.