Normal life was impacted on Thursday in several parts of the country, including the national capital, as employees of state transport corporations and some private operators went on a 24-hour strike against the proposed Motor Bill, ignoring the Centre’s appeal to call it off.
Commuters faced hardship in Kerala with buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws going off the roads, while transport services were hit in Karnataka, Punjab, Guajart, Assam and Haryana.
The employees of state transport services proceeded on a 24-hour strike on the call of trade unions against the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2015, ignoring Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari’s assurances that the Bill does not infringe upon the rights of state transport authorities and all their concerns will be addressed.
The strike has been called jointly by national level road transport bodies representing both public and private sector workers, affiliated to central trade unions like AITUC, CITU, BMS, INTUC, HMS, AICCTU, LPF and state-level outfits.
They are protesting against provisions in the Bill which include obtaining fitness certificates even for light motor vehicles regularly and stringent penalties for driving offences.
Gadkari termed their concerns “premature” and said wide consultations would be held with all stakeholders on the bill before enacting it.
Bus services remained paralysed in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh with state roadways and private buses remaining off the road.
Reports from Bhiwani and Amritsar said that there was a complete strike by the roadways employees in the districts and auto rickshaws have also joined the strike.
About 3,000 buses and trucks in Pathankot area have joined the strike. Pathankot SSP Rakesh Kaushal said patrolling in the area has been intensified to deal with any untoward incident.
In Kerala, commuters in Thiruvananthapuram, who depend on Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSTC) buses, had tough time reaching their work places as the buses did not operate.
Examinations being conducted by universities in the state have been postponed due to the strike while no untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state so far.