Roadways strike: Police lathicharge workers in Fatehabad

Nov 01, 2018, 08:22 IST | PTI

The protesters also pelted stones at policemen deployed in the area, injuring a few of them, SHO at the Bhuna police station Inspector Ramesh Kumar said

Roadways strike: Police lathicharge workers in Fatehabad
Manohar Lal Khattar

The Haryana Roadways employees who are on a strike were lathicharged Wednesday by police as they tried to block the route from where a motorcade of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was passing, officials said. The protesters also pelted stones at policemen deployed in the area, injuring a few of them, SHO at the Bhuna police station Inspector Ramesh Kumar said. The workers of the roadways and other government department claimed that several of them were also injured. Notably, to express solidarity with agitating state roadways workers, government staffers across various departments had gone on a two-day strike Tuesday.

The Haryana Roadways employees have been protesting for the last 16 days against the state government's decision to run 700 private buses. On Monday, they extended their strike till November 2. While union leaders have claimed that work in various government departments was badly affected for the second day on Wednesday, a government spokesman, however, said, "Work in various Haryana government departments remained normal. As many as 1.23 lakh employees marked their attendance using the biometric systems". Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Tuesday reiterated that the state roadways was not being privatised.

The Opposition Congress on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya and sought his intervention to end the strike. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda led a delegation that also included party MLAs Kuldeep Sharma, Geeta Bhukkal and Karan Singh Dalal. The Congress members, through their memorandum, alleged that administrative machinery in the state has "collapsed" after government employees from other departments too have joined the strike, affecting commuters. The Congress leaders said the government was adamant on running 700 odd private buses "because it wanted to extend benefit to its favourites. If an independent enquiry is conducted, a big scam will be unearthed..."

Transport Minister Krishan Lal Panwar reiterated on Wednesday that if the roadways union leaders agree the government was ready to order a probe by the State Vigilance Department into allegations that it was extending benefits to its favourites. Panwar also said that the Transport Department has decided to implement "No work no pay", under which no salary will be released till further orders for the period of the strike and unauthorised absence of the roadways employees from duty. The stir has hit public transport services despite the state government making alternate arrangements, including appointing drivers and conductors and hiring buses.

The Haryana Roadways employees had last week decided to extend their strike till October 29 as their fresh round of talks with the government failed to make headway. The strike was later extended till November 2. The employees are on strike since October 16 against the government's decision to hire 700 buses from private owners. There are about 19,000 employees in the Haryana Roadways. The roadways, having a fleet of 4,100 buses, cater to about 12 lakh passengers daily.

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