To mark their opposition against the proposed Road Safety and Transport Bill, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and other transports unions at Ludhiana depot resorted to a complete 'bandh' on Thursday, which caused huge inconvenience to thousands of passengers in the sweltering weather conditions.
Passengers had to look for alternative transport modes to travel to their respective destinations. After initiating the protest at 4am, the bus services remained disrupted throughout the day.
While all Punjab Roadways and PRTC buses remained parked at their respective stations, a small percentage of private buses continued with their services, but of total 2,200 bus timings from Ludhiana bus stand more than 90% of buses did not ply on their routes, thus causing a big hit to the transportation services in years.
Harbansh Singh, general secretary, AITUC, who gathered with members of transport unions at the Ludhiana depot, said, "We are surprised as a bill (road safety and transport), which ideally should aim at improving the stature of all transport stakeholders, is implementing something that has increased their plight."
"Moreover, to add to our woes, the scrapping of Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) will endow special privileges to the private players who will in turn exploit the situation to influence route allocation to a large extent to suit their own interests," Singh said.
AITUC president Pardeep Singh said, "Imposition of heavy fines for minor traffic violations and stringent financial and corporal punishment for road accident while on-duty has only disregarded the interest of a government employee. As per the strict safety standards proposed in the bill, private companies will have a greater say in the matters related to transport policies, which will mutilate the general interests of government transport employees."
As part of a nationwide protest against the road safety bill, AITUC, INTUC and several other transport unions halted transport services in other districts of the state as well.
When asked about the arrangement in place to deal with such situations, Punjab Roadways general manager Rashpal Singh said, "The protest is on a large scale, we are doing whatever possible remedial measures we can undertake with the available resources at hand."
The protest was on till the filing of report, and the services will be resumed from Friday morning.