New Delhi, November 22 (PTI): The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the three-member committee, set up by the Maharashtra government on the issue of merging the employees of the cash-strapped Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) into the state government, to submit its preliminary report on December 20.
A division bench of Justices P B Varale and S M Modak also requested the striking MSRTC employees to reconsider their stand and report to duty as several persons, especially children, in rural areas were facing difficulties due to lack of convenient and economic transport.
“Those employees, drivers, conductors who have shown willingness to extend cooperation to the corporation will be permitted to ply buses either in urban or rural areas so that public in general, including school students, are not put to suffering,” the bench said, adding that children will suffer as schools are now open.
The bench noted that it was aware of the issues faced by the striking workers but a balance has to be maintained between issues and priorities. The court was hearing a petition filed by the MSRTC seeking contempt action to be initiated against the striking employees for not reporting to work despite court orders.
On Monday, MSRTC lawyers S U Kamdar and G S Hegde pointed out that there were instances of stone pelting and violence outside several bus depots where the workers were sitting on dharna.
Large number of workers sit just outside the depot and stop other workers who wish to resume duty, said Kamdar. “There have been several instances of stone pelting, violence and stopping of staff from entering (the depots). We have filed FIRs in some instances,” said Kamdar.
The HC asked the Maharashtra government to initiate action on such “mischief player/s” who indulge in violence and stone pelting outside the bus depots.
Gunaratan Sadavarte, advocate for the workers’ union, opposed the MSTRC’s contention and said their workers were sitting on a peaceful dharna, adding that persons from political parties were creating mischief in the name of workers.
Kamdar further informed the HC that the three-member committee will be holding its meeting on Tuesday and other unions have been asked to send representatives.
The HC asked the government to take opinions and suggestions of experts from the transport field as well.
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