The Karnataka Government has directed South Western Railways to run special trains on April 9 and April 10 in the wake of Road Transport Corporation employees’ indefinite strike that began on Wednesday. In his note, the Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar noted that the strike will cause “severe” hardships to those travelling ahead of the festive season.
Railways will run special trains to clear the rush on 9th April and 10 April to the following destinations: Belagavi, Kalaburgi (Gulbarga), Karwar, Bidar, Vijapura (Bijapura) and Shivamogga. While two special trains have been announced for cities Belgavi Gulbarga and Karwar; Bidar, Vijapura and Shivamogga will have one special train each. Additionally, the frequency of intercity trains between Bengaluru and Mysuru has been increased as well.
Similarly, the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited has said it will be increasing the frequency throughout the metro operational hours between 7.00 am to 9.00 pm. The trains will run with a frequency of 4.5 – 5 minutes on Purple and Green Lines. Simultaneously, the government has permitted private buses to operate out of the state-run bus stands.
Meanwhile, the State Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai have appealed to the workers to not go on strike; Deputy CM and Transport Minister Lakshman Savadi have hinted that the government won’t negotiate with the employees on Thursday.
“We have fulfilled eight of their (workers) nine demands, despite this, they are adamant and have stopped buses, and are creating trouble for the public. I appeal to them, get back to work, we can talk," Yediyurappa said. Home Minister Bommai appealed to the workers to continue working while asking for their demands to be fulfilled. The government will help, he said.
CM Yediyurappa on Wednesday indicated that a decision on invoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) will be taken depending on the situation. The government had also made clear that the implementation of the sixth pay commission for transport workers was not possible, but has agreed to an 8% increase in salary as an interim relief, he said.
Workers of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and others, under the banner of Karnataka State Road Transport Employees Association are protesting against the government's "failure" to implement a salary under the 6th Pay Commission for the RTC workers.
They had earlier gone on indefinite strike, under Chandrashekhar Kodihalli’s leadership, in December 2020 which was called off on December 15 after the government assured to fulfil nine out of their 10 demands. Kodihalli is the honorary president of the transport workers’ association.
(With PTI inputs)