Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bangalore private vehicle strike hits office goers

BANGALORE: For the people, there are worrisome days ahead. The statewide lorry owners' indefinite strike launched on Sunday midnight has already hit crucial sectors.

With the talks between the government and the striking truckers not yielding any result, shortages could be the order of the day. The next round of talks are scheduled for Tuesday. The associations are protesting against the mandatory installation of speed governors. Despite clarifying the state cannot violate the norms, the associations are not budging an inch, said Thangaraju, principal secretary, transport.

Although the loss incurred cannot be estimated accurately, the impact was quite severe on Monday, affecting schoolchildren, office-goers, train, bus and air passengers. Some schools declared a holiday, while others functioned normally. The associations have apologised to schools for inconveniencing students and promised that all school vans will be allowed to ply without any hindrance.

Several employees, especially in the IT and BPO sectors, had been affected by the stir. Some companies made special arrangements to transport employees.

The city witnessed violence in some parts with miscreants damaging school vans and KSRTC buses. Around 2.75 lakh lorries and trucks and 75,000 maxi cabs were stranded across the state. Over 1,000 private buses and 20,000 taxis in Bangalore participated in the protest.

"We will continue the strike. The essential services will not be affected though. Vehicles transporting gas and petroleum voluntarily stopped their vehicles extending their support," said B V Narayanappa, secretary, Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents Association. Though the transport of essential commodities had not been hit on Monday, Karnataka Milk Federation and APMC officials are worried that as the talks were not fruitful, supply of milk and vegetables and fruits may be hit.

As for LPG, although there wasn't any panic on Monday, agencies fear supplies may be hit. On Monday, trucks carrying gas cylinders were initially stopped but later allowed to ply.

Around 1,000 buses in Bangalore did not ply on Monday, affecting factories and tourism. Over 5,000 employees who depend on these buses had to either take leave from work or opt for alternative modes of transport to get to work and back.

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