Transport strike throws life out of gear in U.P. - Hindustan Times
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Transport strike throws life out of gear in U.P.

By, Lucknow
Jan 02, 2024 07:08 AM IST

Over 2.5 lakh trucks and over 3000 buses remained off the road, those in the know of things. Joined by drivers of auto-rickshaws and taxis as well, the strike left people stranded in most cities.

Normal life came to a standstill for many people in Uttar Pradesh on the very first day of the New Year on Monday following the nationwide strike by drivers against the increased jail term of 7-10 years for hit-and-run cases.

Lucknow: UPSRTC buses parked at Kaiserbagh Bus Stand amid a strike by bus drivers over the “stringent provisions” under proposed legislation on hit-and-run cases under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, in Lucknow, Monday, Jan 1, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI)
Lucknow: UPSRTC buses parked at Kaiserbagh Bus Stand amid a strike by bus drivers over the “stringent provisions” under proposed legislation on hit-and-run cases under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, in Lucknow, Monday, Jan 1, 2024. (PTI Photo) (PTI)

Over 2.5 lakh trucks and over 3000 buses remained off the road, those in the know of things. Joined by drivers of auto-rickshaws and taxis as well, the strike left people stranded in most cities.

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The supply of essential goods was also said to have been affected in many cities.

Operations of Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC), as well as private buses, were hit badly due to most of the drivers being on strike. Approximately 3000 buses are not in operation in the state, which amounts to nearly half of the daily fleet in operation, UPSRTC official Ajeet Singh said.

“In Qaiserbagh (Lucknow), buses are stranded. We are trying to get the things back on track. Western UP is the worst affected,” he added.

“Although the major protests here have been launched by public truck drivers, other groups from the transport sector have also joined. This includes some of our employees as well,” said Singh.

“Several of our buses have been stalled at toll plazas where truck drivers are protesting and have held up the booths,” he added.

There have also been reports of fights breaking out at toll plazas on Kanpur Road amidst these strikes.

TPS Aneja, president of the Transport Nagar Vyapar Mandal in Lucknow, said, “More than 15000 trucks pass through Lucknow per day with essential goods and other supplies. They are not operating today. Not only this, the buses of UPSRTC, taxis have gone on strike against the new (provision) in the Motor Vehicles Act).”

Drivers also blocked the buses by going to the roadways stand in Lucknow and no bus was allowed to come out of the depot there. Those vehicles that left the depot in the morning and went on the route were also said to have been stopped on the way.

Lokesh Rajput, UPSRTC regional manager in-charge of Meerut Zone, said the truck drivers have not allowed the buses to exit Bhaisali Bus Depot, Meerut Bus Depot and Sohrab Bus Stand.

“We are trying to convince them,” he said, adding that a similar situation has been reported in the surrounding districts also.

As the transport system was thrown out of gear, people had to reach their destination by asking for lifts, travelling in carriages and private vehicles.

In Lucknow, many people took to the metro for reaching their destination. Private vehicle drivers took advantage of the helplessness of the passengers and charged more fares. The passengers appeared worried throughout the day.

Drivers blocked the movement of trucks in Transport Nagar Lucknow, the Lucknow Kanpur road, Sitapur Road and Ayodhya Road in the state capital. The police removed the trucks parked on the Kanpur Road by using slight force to smoothen the traffic.

In Meerut, over 10,000 trucks did not ply on the day as the Transport Association of Meerut backed the strike.

Association president Gaurav Sharma and other officials visited the transporters who were loading goods despite the strike.

“We requested those transporters and drivers to show their solidarity with the strikers,” Sharma said.

The day saw road jams and very few buses moved out of UPSRTC bus stations in Agra district and Aligarh division on Monday.

At Gorakhpur bus station, 164 government and 225 other buses couldn’t ply on Monday as a result of the strike. In Deoria, the services of 67 government and 129 other buses were hit.

In Basti, the National Highway-28 was blocked by bus and truck drivers for three hours in the morning. Also, over 200 buses at Dumariyaganj, Mehdawal and Balrampur remained parked at the local depots for the entire day.

An office-bearer of a drivers’ association in Gorakhpur, Rakesh Kumar Verma, said the strike was to protest the proposed provision of an increased jail term in hit-and-run cases.

A popular fruit and vegetable wholesale market in the Gorakhpur region, Mahewa Mandi, wore a deserted look as no truck reached there due to the strike.

The Prayagraj region also virtually came to a standstill following the strike by transporters, tempo and taxi unions along with e-rickshaw drivers.

Prayagraj Tempo Taxi Union president Raghunath Dwivedi said transporters and drivers staged protests at Prayagraj Junction, Civil Lines bus station, Rambagh and other spots. A large number of passengers were seen searching for means of transport at Civil Lines bus station.

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