With Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) employees unwilling to call off their strike, the state government on Monday granted permission to private buses, school buses and private company buses to operate as public transport vehicles and transport the passengers from MSRTC depots across the state. The notification will remain in effect until the employees call off the strike.
“The decision has been taken to ensure that the commuters don’t face any issue in travelling. The rates will be charged by the private operators as per the rules,” said an official.
The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the state government to constitute a high-level committee to amicably resolve the issue pertaining to MSRTC workers’ demand to be treated as employees of the state government by merging the corporation with the state government.
The unions and employees, however, were not satisfied with the notification issued by the government and had indicated that the strike will continue.
“We are not interested in the committee as we have already seen in 2017 how the committee works. We only wish that the government just take a decision on merging the corporation with the state government. Unless and until the decision on merger takes place, the strike will continue,” said Sangharsh ST Kamgar Union president Shashank Rao.
On Monday, around 225 depots of the 250 across the state were shut as a part of strike and most depots were either deserted or with several commuters waiting for the buses to come. “I had made my reservation a week ago but there are no buses here. I need to get back to my hometown in Kolhapur but I don’t know if I can now,” said Shobha Kamble.
“My in-laws are sick for the past two days. I and my wife have no means to get there in Baramati. I tried yesterday and today as well, but no buses are available. There is no clarity on when the services will resume,” said Sahadev Karande.
“Maharashtra bandh was declared when farmers died in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur. Why is the CM silent on the 35 suicides? We have not been paid in months. It is becoming impossible to run the household. This will stop only when our demands are met,” said Anil Budhwant, the ST employee.
Another ST employee, Kiran Lawande said: “We have been working with the department for over 10 years but have no proper duty timings. We have to work 16 hours a day frequently. Since the lockdown, the salaries have been inconsistent. We have no family time. People are unable to provide for their families. We won’t work till our demands are met.”