Kodihalli Chandrashekar, who has been leading the Road Transport Corporation employees’ strike in Karnataka, was detained in Belagavi district on Saturday. Kodihalli, president of RTC employees' federation, was in Belagavi to meet the Deputy Commissioner but was not allowed to do so. He then decided to stage a demonstration. District authorities then detained him and directed that he be sent out of the district. "Police took Chandrashekar into their custody and are taking him to Bengaluru," sources said.
Meanwhile, cracks have begun to appear among sections of the state-owned transport corporation bus employees' federation as the strike over their wage-related issues entered the fourth day on Saturday.
The Karnataka government on Friday banned with immediate effect the indefinite strike by employees of the road transport corporations, which affected bus services across the state. Citing inconvenience caused to the public and that the strike was against provisions of the industrial disputes act, the Labour Department issued the ban orders.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had appealed to the employees to resume work. He made it clear that it was not possible to meet their demand for wages as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
With the government reiterating its stand on wages as per the Sixth Pay Commission, RTC employees decided to continue with the strike on Saturday as well. Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, honorary president of the Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League, had earlier said the strike will continue for the fourth day on Saturday.
On Saturday a few union leaders expressed their displeasure over the way Chandrashekhar handled the issue. The Karnataka Transport Employees Federation has chosen Chandrashekhar as their honorary president to lead their agitation and negotiate with the government for the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission. "The strike is continuing, but we are caught in a problem due to the impractical demand. Now we cannot move forward, return backwards," the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation union leader K Prakash said.
Chandrashekhar should not have put forth just one demand, which will fizzle out because it cannot be fulfilled in view of the present situation, another union leader said requesting anonymity.
The four state-owned transport corporations' employees—Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC)—all of them have gone on strike demanding salaries on par with the state government employees. The stalemate has caused inconvenience to the commuters, many of whom alleged that private transporters overcharged for the trips.
The government has sacked trainee and probationary employees of various corporations, including 216 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation in the past two days for taking part in the agitation. The government also managed to run 652 buses till 10 am. Yet, it was way still short of the demand. The Railways are also operating nine special trains on Saturday.
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