The indefinite strike by various road transport corporations in Karnataka disrupted normalcy in the state, with commuters mostly bearing the brunt of the strike that continued for the second day on Friday.
According to TV reports, several buses were attacked in Hubli, Gulbarga and Kolar by miscreants, who immediately forced KSRTC officials to bring transport services to a halt. Despite the tensions in the state, it was said that some of the buses in Bangalore resumed services in Electronic City, BEML, Majestic and Shivaji Nagar routes.
The strike was launched by state transport corporations on Thursday on account of various demands, including the 10 percent salary hike announced by the government last month and the enrollment of over 30,000 trainees working with four state road transportation corporations under the regular employee list.
Owing to the breakdown of the public transport, stranded commuters at the bus stops and in other places had to turn to auto and private van services, as about 90 percent of buses were off road. Over 1000 office employees in the city were affected due to the strike.
The strike led to a over 6,000 buses in the city and over 8,000 buses that run on intra and inter-state routes calling off their services. Around 110,000 transport employees were also off work, HV Anantha Subburao, a spokesperson of the unions supporting strike, told IANS.
Transportation Minister R Askok, also serving as Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, was in deep water after several major areas in the state were paralyzed by the transportation strike. He warned to use the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) if transport employees fail to end the strike.
The transportation minister said that employees were given pay hikes between 23 percent and 18 percent. Employees are presently demanding a 30 percent pay increase, which R Askok said will lead to expenditures of ₹22 billion for the transport corporations in the next four years, The Hindu reported.