Private bus strike in Odisha hits passengers

Bhubaneswar: All private buses remained off the roads in Odisha today as the State Private Bus Owners’ Association launched a strike over the fulfilment of their 11-point-charter of demands.

Passengers and commuters had a harrowing experience at major bus stands of the state. Many of them were reportedly unaware of the strike and found themselves helpless for reaching their respective destinations. Heavy rush was witnessed in state government-run buses.

On the other hand, plying of school and town buses were excluded from the strike.

Talks between the office bearers of All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBOA) and Transport Minister Nrusingha Charan Sahu over their longstanding demands had remained inconclusive yesterday following which the bus owners’ body had called for the strike.

Today, the AOPBOA members had a meeting with the Urban Development Minister and the Transport Minister at the State Secretariat here following which the association’s president Prakash Mishra informed that the stir will continue and the next course of action will be decided at a general body meeting this evening.

“A high-level committee will be formed to resolve the issues and it will submit a report within 3 months,” said Minister Niranjan Pujari after the meeting.

Notably, the AOPBOA had on February 19 threatened to go on strike for an indefinite period from March 14 if the government failed to fulfill its demands. The AOPBOA is protesting the state government’s decision to ply city buses on long routes and increase in tax collection from bus operators.

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