Chandigarh: The Haryana Roadways Employees Wednesday announced the extension of their strike by another two days, even as the state government ordered suspension of several workers.
During a meeting of Haryana Roadways Workers Joint Action Committee in Kaithal, the transport employees decided to prolong their strike, said Roadways Workers Union leader Sarbat Singh Punia, adding that if the government order for introduction of 700 private buses was not cancelled and cases against the employees registered during the strike were not taken back, then the stir period would be further extended.
Defying the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the roadways employees had begun their strike on Tuesday, compromising the public transportation system in the state.
In view of the commuters’ woes, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday ordered suspension of all employees and officers participating in the protest, an official statement here read.
The statement said Khattar took this decision among many others during a meeting held with senior officials here.
The government has decided to make immediate appointment of 930 conductors and 500 drivers. “It has been decided that drivers, who are on probation but participated in the strike, would be suspended without show cause notice. Similarly, 252 contract drivers, who took part in the strike, would be removed from services from today (Wednesday),” the statement read.
While Duty Inspector of Rewari and Works Manager of Bahadurgarh have been suspended, the suspension of General Manager of Palwal has been recommended, the statement said.
Further, the chief minister has ordered enquiry against some officers “who indirectly participated in the strike”.
Further, newly appointed clerks, who are on probation but participated in the strike, would be suspended.
“During the meeting, it was decided that today itself an advertisement will be released to invite applications for appointment of 930 conductors and 500 drivers under outsourcing policy,” it said.
Additional Chief Secretary, Transport Department, Dhanpat Singh has urged the roadways unions to resume duties, saying the strike was affecting the state exchequer and inconveniencing the people.
Justifying the decision to introduce 700 buses, Singh told reporters here that 12 lakh people in the state travel daily on state roadways buses and to cater to the growing population Haryana Roadways needed 15,000 buses, but at present, it has a fleet of only 4,100.
He claimed that addition of private buses, which would be plied on kilometre-basis, would not affect the employees of roadways in any manner.
Under the kilometre scheme, the buses would belong to the private operators, who will pay the salary of the drivers, bear diesel and maintenance cost, but the conductors would be appointed by the government and the revenue generated from the tickets would be deposited in the state exchequer, Singh said, elaborating on the scheme.
Apart from this, the expenditure on toll and others would be borne by the government, he added.
Singh said soon 367 new buses would be included in the fleet of Haryana Roadways, for which orders have been issued for the release of tenders.
He said a special purpose vehicle and a dedicated corporation could be formed to run Haryana Roadways efficiently.
Singh said about 40 buses are run in Hisar with the help of heavy vehicle drivers of other departments.
In reply to a poser, he said if the strike was not called off then recruitment would be carried out through outsourcing policy and buses would be plied.