Karnataka bus strike: Southern Western Railways to run additional trains till April 14
The South Western Railways (SWR) will run additional trains from April 8 to14 in wake of the indefinite strike by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) demanding a hike in wages. The SWR will be running the additional trains to clear the extra rush of the upcoming Ugadi festival, on April 13, as bus services were hit in most parts of Karnataka due to the strike, news agency ANI reported SWR as saying.
To soften the blow from the strike, the metro rail also increased the frequency of its services from 7am to 9pm. The state government has taken measures to ease the commute for the people by roping private transport operators, cabs and taxis, as well as by deploying more trains. However, many passengers have complained about private bus operators charging exorbitantly.
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday appealed to workers to withdraw the strike and resume services. “I have fulfilled 8 out of 9 demands which were given by the unions in the last meeting. A salary hike of 8 per cent has also been considered. I have written to the union government for the approval, right after we get approval that will also be given,” he said.
The indefinite strike was called by the workers of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC), under the banner of Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League on April 7, despite the chief minister warning of invoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against them.
Passengers commuting for work, to and from distant locations have been impacted the most. Several universities have even postponed exams because of the strike.
"Whenever you (CM) call us, we are ready for discussion. Our indefinite strike will continue tomorrow and thereafter until our demands are fulfilled... Our main demand is the Sixth Pay Commission and the government has to arrive at a decision,” honorary president of the KSRTC Employees League Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said.
(With agency inputs)