As many as 28 khap panchayats and several other organisations on Monday joined an ongoing stir by the state roadways' staff against the government's decision to hire 720 private buses on kilometre bases.
As many as 28 khap panchayats and several other organisations on Monday joined an ongoing stir by the state roadways’ staff against the government’s decision to hire 720 private buses on kilometre bases. According to a report in The Indian Express, the protests staged in Rohtak yesterday saw massive participation of the staff who are protesting since October 16.
The report said that over two lakh government employees are likely to go on a two-day strike from today to show their support to the roadways’ staff. The protesting staff have now extended their stir till November 2. They are demanding that the state government roll back its decision, one which they see as an attempt to privatise transport services. The state government has, however, said that it can’t buy buses for all passengers. In their response, the employee unions have offered to contribute from their salary to facilitate the government’s purchase of 720 buses.
The IE report, while quoting official sources, said that as many as 370 employees who have joined the stir have either been suspended or terminated for violating the government’s order. It said that the state government had banned the strike imposing Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA).
“Despite that over 15,000 employees out of total 17,000 workforce of roadways is still on strike for the past 14 days. Those who are on duty include the employees who have joined the duties just few months back and have not completed their probation period apart from officers of the department,” a junior officer told the daily on term of anonymity.
State Transport minister Krishan Lal Panwar has appealed to the agitating staff to report to their duties keeping the rush during the festival time in mind. A government spokesperson said that around 2,406 buses plyed on state roads on Monday, the IE report said.
On its part, Sarv Karamchari Sangh (SKS) general secretary Subhash Lamba said that they are sensitive towards the public interest and hence staff who are on stir won’t disrupt the essential services like emergency health services, supply of electricity and power.
“It’s our in-principle decision that the employees will try to ensure essential services despite remaining on strike. Over two lakh employees from all departments will participate in the strike,” Lamba said.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in Haryana Assembly Abhay Singh Chautala has accused the ruling BJP of not utilising the services of competent staff. He said that the Manohar Lal Khattar government is instead encouraging the private sector in crucial fields like health, education and transport.
“This explains why Manohar Lal Khattar government has deliberately failed to utilise the services of the competent staff in health, education and transport. The apathy of the government in holding meaningful dialogue with the roadways unions is designed to take forward the agenda of privatisation, which is regrettable,” he said.