The Rajasthan City Mini Bus Operators’ Union went on a day’s strike in Jaipur in protest against the regional transport office (RTO) move to increase the number of mini buses in the walled city areas, putting school and office goers to hardship.
The union members said that they would intensify their stir from November 15 if their demand was not met. But, RTO officials said that it was a non-issue as the decision to increase the buses was taken after a survey by the Transport Monitoring Committee on public demand.
However, school and office-goers were the most affected who overcrowded roadways buses or took whatever conveyance was available to reach their respective destinations. Earlier, the Rajasthan City Mini Bus Operators’ Union had, however, claimed that school and college buses wouldn’t be part of the strike.
Union president Baljeet Yadav regretted for the inconvenience caused to the people, but alleged that whatever was being planned by the RTO was not in public interest. He said the strike was successful and claimed that around eight lakh people in the city were affected by it.
He even threatened that the union would go on an indefinite strike from November 15 if the RTO didn’t withdraw the recommendation. The strikers will include 4500 mini buses and 500 Tata Magic vehicles, he said. Yadav alleged that the RTO’s move was part of a corruption racket. The plan is not feasible as it will only cause traffic jam in the already congested walled city area, he said.
However, Jaipur RTO VP Singh said, “There is no issue, the union is doing this because of their own internal rivalry. No one has approached us with any memorandum over the issue. The decision to increase the number of buses has been taken after a public demand based survey by the Transport Monitoring Committee.
He said the union was only indulging in a pressure tactic as a majority of the buses run by the members were old and rickety and they knew that the department might order them off the road under the new plan.
However, students faced a lot of difficulties in reaching their schools. Vijay Raj Singh, a student Class 11 and resident Jhalana Doongri said without mini buses they felt stranded and had to walk distances to get rickshaws.
Mukta Desai, a resident of Malviya Nagar said, ”My daughter’s school is at Ghat Gate and she goes to school by a mini bus. The strike posed a problem for us and it became difficult for us to drop and pick her up from the school.”