With state roadways, private buses and taxis going off the road, thousands of passengers had to face harrowing time across Haryana on Thursday.
State-run bus services were completely paralysed across the state. Private bus operators too did not ply their buses. Buses remained parked at bus stands or bus depots, and passengers were left stranded.
State roadway and private buses remained off the road in the region. In Chandigarh also, the buses remained off the road.
Roadways employees were protesting in front of bus depots against central government against the proposed Road Safety Bill, reports said.
Report from Bhiwani and Amritsar said that there was a complete strike by the roadways employees in the districts.
The new bus stand in Rohtak witnessed a complete silence as all 204 buses of the Rohtak depot remained non-functional, The roadways employees, especially the bus-conductors and drivers enjoyed the holiday at the waiting rooms of the city bus stand, but the passengers were left stranded as the bus services were paralysed in district and buses remained parked at bus stands.
“I had to go to back to Gohana, but now I came to know that the bus services are stopped due to strike”, said 71-year- old Barkha Singh of Gohana.
“Government gives them huge salaries, we don’t know why they (roadways employees) hold strikes every month” he asked.
However, the strike has turned profitable for the local modes of transport such as taxis, auto-rickshaws and few private bus operatories, who made the most of passengers’s suffering.
"I have to reach Panipat as my co-labourers will leave for Bengal, but the taxi drivers are demanding Rs 150 against Rs 70 of bus-fair”, said Arif, a migrant labour adding, “taxi drivers are amking money as passengers like me will have to pay extra to reach our destinations."
The strike also caused inconvenience to the students, especially the girls, who are entitled for free travelling in government buses.
In Karnal, private buses on the inter-district routes ran overcrowded but passengers on the long routes remained stranded at the bus stands and national highway-1. Auto rickshaws, jeeps and other medium commercial vehicles made fast buck from the stranded passengers.
Meanwhile, ample security arrangements were made at and around the bus stand. Riot control teams and vehicles were stationed to handle any untoward situation. The employees of state roadways staged a protest at the bus stand against the Bill.
In Hisar, the administration's efforts to run the buses as per normal schedule received a major jolt when protesting roadways employees stopped the first bus departing for Delhi from state's main bus stand at 4.40 am. A minor scuffle between the driver and protesting also broke out, however, the adminstration immediately withdrew their decision to run any bus. Around 212 buses from Hansi and Hisar ply on around 350 routes. The strike will cost the department around 15 lakhs of revenue loss.
A report from Pathankot in Punjab said that goods and passengers transporters commenced their strike as part of the nationwide strike call.
About 3,000 buses and trucks in Pathankot area have joined the strike.
Pathankot SSP Rakesh Kaushal said today, patrolling in the area has been intensified to deal with any untoward incident.