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Transporters’ strike sees mixed response in Mumbai, Thane

School and company buses seen plying, but trucks were off the roads on Friday morning.

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2018 12:03 IST
Mumbai,Transporters’ strike,mixed response
Private buses were seen dropping people to work at Bandra-Kurla Complex on Friday morning. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

The nationwide transporters’ strike, which kicked off on Friday, saw a mixed response in the morning, with private buses ferrying children to school and doing the usual office run in many parts of Mumbai and Thane.

On Thursday, the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) had announced that it would support the national strike, called by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), one of the apex transporters’ body, for a day.

The AIMTC wants the government to slash diesel prices and is protesting the hike in third-party insurance premium, toll collection policy, and national permits for passenger vehicles.

Most transporters from Maharashtra, including the Maharashtra Rajya Truck Tempo Tankers Buses Vahatuk Mahasangh, one of the most powerful transport bodies in the state, have backed the strike.

School buses, company buses, inter-city private buses and trucks are expected to stay off the roads in Mumbai in support of the indefinite strike. Buses on popular inter-city routes such as Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Goa have stopped operations.

Trucks on strike parked at the truck terminal in Vashi on Friday morning. ( Bachchan Kumar/HT Photo )

“As a safety measure, we announced that school buses would stay off the roads. But every operator does not necessarily join the strike,” said Denise Sequeira, president, SBOA, Thane. Anil Garg, president, SBOA, Mumbai, said: “Schools that have their own buses are plying them. Some of those that are under us are not running.”

“We had regular school and buses were plying as usual,” said Rohan Bhat, chairperson of the Children’s Academy group of schools. The Ryan and Vibgyor group of schools also operated their buses as usual.

Some schools, such as Gundecha International School in Borivli, Jamnabai Narsee in Vile Parle and Bai Avabai Petit in Bandra, asked parents to pick up and drop students. In some areas of south Mumbai, school buses did not ply. “I dropped my two children on bike to their school in Parel,” said Sachin Nalawade, a Lalbaug resident.

Thane, however, did not experience a problem. “Our school bus operator did not join the strike and all students got to school at the usual time. We did not keep the school closed as attendance was regular,” said Simmi Juneja, principal, DAV school, Thane.

Parents said they were alerted that school buses would ply. “We got a message from the PTA that the school was open, so we got to the bus stop at the usual time. Other schools’ buses were also running,” said Vinny Augustine, parent of a 10-year-old student in Universal High School.

“There was not even a hint of the strike. Buses and students were here at the usual time,” said Edward Mascarenhas, vice-principal, St John the Baptist high School, Thane.

The supply of essential commodities, such as fruits, vegetables, fuel, oil, medicines and several other items, is exempted from the strike. Transporters said trucks carrying essential commodities are reaching the Vashi-based wholesale market without any problems.

“The strike has received a good response in Mumbai and other parts of the state. We have not stopped the transportation of essential commodities. The movement of trucks and other goods vehicles, however, has completely stopped, including to and from JNPT and other docks,” said Raman Khosla, a leader of Vahatuk Mahasangh.

First Published: Jul 20, 2018 11:00 IST