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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 29:

Normal life was affected across Odisha as private buses stayed off roads due to a 24-hour strike by the All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBOA) protesting the arrest of the owner of the ill-fated bus ‘Maharaja’ which skidded off a bridge at Puruna Manitri near Athmallik on September 19 killing 19 passengers and leaving over 50 injured.

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Around 18,000 private buses have stopped plying across the state from 6.30 AM today and it will continue till 6 AM tomorrow.

The private bus operators’ body has also threatened to go on indefinite bus strike in the state beginning October 7 if the government fails to withdraw the case against Rishabh Tripathy, the owner of ‘Maharaja’ bus.

On Monday, a delegation of the AOPBOA had met Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi demanding the immediate release of Tripathy and withdrawal of case registered against him.

The delegation had claimed that all papers of the ill-fated bus were valid and hence there was no ground for arresting Tripathy as he was at no fault for the bus meeting with an accident.

Transport Minister Majhi had played safe by throwing the ball into the Home department’s court by informing the delegation that Tripathy has not been arrested under the MV Act adding that steps will be taken after the matter is discussed with the Home department.

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