The drivers’ strike affected public transport services in Odisha.
Bhubaneswar, March 15 (PTI) Public transport across Odisha was affected as the drivers’ union began an indefinite strike from Wednesday demanding social security.
A large number of drivers sat on national highways and state expressways, halting the plying of private buses.
Nearly 2 lakh drivers went on strike under the banner of Odisha Drivers Association, stranding thousands of people in major cities and towns like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Balasore and Bolangir.
Although the Private Bus Owners Association and other organizations did not support the strike, not a single private bus was seen on the roads.
Protesters were also seen stopping commercial vehicles on the national highway at Tamando near here.
The drivers have demanded fulfillment of 10-point demands like pension, insurance, death benefits.
“We appeal to the drivers to abandon the strike and cooperate with the government in resolving their issues,” Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu said on Wednesday.
The meeting between the minister and the drivers on Tuesday did not end.
Meanwhile, the state government has directed all the Collectors and SPs to prepare a contingency plan to avoid any inconvenience to the people during the strike.
Municipal Police Commissioner Saumendra Priyadarshi said that action will be taken against those who try to disrupt the traffic. He advised people to call 112 in case of any mishap.
“I don’t know anything about the strike. I am from west bengal and want to go to nayakar. But I am helpless now,” said a passenger at Barmunda Bus Terminal.
Ambulance services and vehicles carrying essential goods are excluded from the ambit of the strike.
Meanwhile, BJP and Congress MLAs expressed concern over the disruption of road transport across the state and the drivers staged a strike in the Assembly.
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra and Opposition (BJP) chief whip Korada Mohan Majhi urged the state government to resolve the matter and ensure resumption of public transport at the earliest.