People faced a tough time due to a strike called by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) Workers' Union on Thursday, which affected services on local and longer routes for six hours, from 10am to 4pm. The union mainly wants vacant posts filled and purchase of new buses.
Passengers remained stranded at the Sector-17 and Sector-43 inter-state bus terminals (ISBT), and three-wheeler operators overcharged at many places to take advantage of the situation.
Over 1,500 members of the CTU union gathered at the Sector-17 ISBT and raised anti-administration slogans. Union president Bhupinder Singh said the administration had been sitting over their demand of purchase of new buses. The union also demanded filling of vacant posts of drivers and conductors, dearness allowance and pay revision. General secretary of the union, Ranjit Singh, held UT adviser KK Sharma responsible for the delay in purchase of new buses. As per official figures, against a sanctioned fleet of 517, CTU is managing its affairs with 315 buses that carry over 1 lakh people.
The UT administration has been planning to procure 98 new buses, but the process has been marred by delays. The administration has, in fact, cancelled tenders four times in the past two years, primarily due to manufacturers' reported opposition to a maintenance clause.
The Centre has allocated `131 crore for 150 buses to augment the fleet of local buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) programme.