Amid a strike by transport workers in Karnataka, the Karnataka government said that as many as 943 buses under various government transport services are operating on Monday. While a few state transport buses were seen plying, according to figures provided by the government, as many as 234 Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and 182 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses were operating as of 12 pm.
Additionally, 286 buses under the North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) and 241 buses under the North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation are operating on Monday. This is despite the call for a strike by transport organisation employees after the deadlock between them and the Karnataka government was not resolved fully over the weekend. Although the transport employees organised a fresh protest at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru on Monday morning, they called it off by evening.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi on Sunday ruled out one key demand of the workers â€” to consider striking transport workers as government employees. The Deputy CM said he will look into other demands of the workers. The major demands of the employees are to bring them under the government's payroll, provide the same privileges/incentives as government employees and a compensation of Rs 30 lakh to those who died during COVID-19 duty.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had earlier urged the protesting transport employees to call off the strike. The employees had taken part in a massive protest on Thursday, which was led by farmer leader Kodihalli Chandrashekar. Following this, negotiations were held with the state government over the weekend. It had then appeared on Sunday that the strike would end. However, the workers decided to continue their strike to urge the government to give into their demand to be converted as government employees. On Monday evening, Kodihalli Chandrashekar announced that the strike was ending.
The state government was examining the option of deploying private bus operators to minimise the hardship faced by commuters till the issue is resolved. Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi also indicated that the government was not ready to entertain farmers' leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, who has now emerged as the representative of the transport workers as well.