Punjab govt to hold meeting with protesting state transport staffers
Senior officials in the Punjab government will hold meetings on Tuesday with representatives of contract and outsourced employees of the state transport undertakings who are on an indefinite strike for the past one week.
Bus services across the state remained crippled on Monday as nearly 8,200 employees of Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), Punjab Roadways and PUNBUS, stayed away from work for the seventh consecutive day.
The contract and outsourced employees have been seeking regularisation of their jobs for over 10 years. With 80% of the staff on strike, the three transport undertakings are suffering losses in crores daily. PRTC has been able to operate only 10% of its 1,100-strong fleet in the past one week. With the daily revenue dropping to ₹65 lakh, it alone is facing ₹1.2-crore losses every day.
PRTC managing director Parneet Kaur Shergill said meetings are on with protesters, but they are reluctant to end their strike.
“The protesting employees are also going to hold key meetings with top officials at the government level on Tuesday,” she said, adding that the authorities are appealing to them to end the strike and continue it on rotational basis, so that the services don’t suffer.
Harkesh Singh Vicky, vice-president of the Roadways/PRTC contractual employees union, said they have also garnered the support of several farmer unions, who have assured them of help to build pressure on the state government.
“If the state government fails to take any decision pertaining to our demand of regularisation, we will block national and state highways across the state,” he said, adding that the government was threatening to relieve them from jobs. Among other demands, the union wants stringent measures to keep check on transport mafia, streamlining of daily hourly roster, and implementation of equal salary for equal work law.
“It will be difficult for PRTC to overcome the losses in coming days. Already, we were working hard to bridge the gap between daily income and expenditure,” said a PRTC official.
Apart from serene lakes, magnificent Mughal Gardens, vast meadows, deciduous forests and Himalayan peaks, people in Kashmir and visitors from outside this year will also be mesmerised by a festival of flowers starting May 20. “The festival is being organised on May 20 and 21 for which, our preparations are in full swing,” said Shayiq Rasool, deputy director, floriculture.
Hundreds of villagers -- including family members, relatives and friends of 52-year-old Ranjit Singh, who was killed in a grenade attack inside a wine shop in Baramulla on Tuesday -- blocked Rajouri-Poonch highway at Sunderbani on Wednesday morning for over three hours to protest against his killing. Ranjit hailed from Bhakar village in Sunderbani and had recently gone to Baramulla to work at the wine shop.
The unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi will come into effect from May 22, according to a notification issued by the Union government on Wednesday, as the terms of the three municipal bodies in the Capital are coming to an end. The term of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation ended on Wednesday, while the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and East DMC will complete their tenures on May 19 and 22, respectively.
At least 50,000 people, including BJP workers and beneficiaries of various Centre-sponsored schemes, will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Shimla rally on May 31. The event is being held to mark the completion of Modi government's eight years. “We have set a target of 50,000 attendees for the rally likely to be held on The Ridge,” said state BJP president Suresh Kashyap while addressing a virtual meeting of the party office-bearers.
The Congress seems to be divided on the CBI probe into the police constable recruitment paper leak case. Senior party leader and Naina Devi MLA Thakur Ram Lal said the Congress was against the CBI probe as it was an attempt by the state government to mess up the case. It is worth mentioning that when the paper leak case came to the fore, several Congress leaders had sought a CBI probe into it.