Commuters face tough time as Roadways staff on strike

BATHINDA:As members of the Punjab Roadways/PUNBUS Contract Workers’ Union observed a strike on Monday, passengers, especially those travelling from Bathinda to Muktsar, had to face tough time.

Ravi Chandel

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 25

As members of the Punjab Roadways/PUNBUS Contract Workers’ Union observed a strike on Monday, passengers, especially those travelling from Bathinda to Muktsar, had to face tough time. 

As many as 24 Punjab Roadways/Punbus buses daily commute between Bathinda and Muktsar and vice-versa, but on Monday, only three buses plied on the route.

Besides, passengers travelling to Patiala, Mansa, Ludhiana, Dabwali, Talwandi Sabo and Pehowa were also inconvenienced due to the strike.

The passengers travelling from Bathinda to Mukstar were seen making rounds of the inquiry counter throughout the day and private buses commuting between Bathinda and Muktsar ferried passengers more than their regular capacity.

Major Singh, a commuter, said, “Owing to the strike, private bus operators are not only ferrying passengers more than the capacity of the buses but also charging exorbitant fares from them.”

He added that these days, it had become a regular practice in the region that due to one reason or the other, some union members either block highways or observe strike. 

The government must wake up from its slumber and take steps to ensure that passengers are not inconvenienced due to such strikes frequently, he said.

Tarsem Singh, general secretary, Punjab Roadways/PUNBUS Contract Workers Union, said, “Our motive is not to create nuisance. Of 24 buses, which ply daily between Bathinda and Muktsar, three buses that are driven by regular employees operated as per their scheduled time table.”

He added that despite the fact that the state government had agreed to their demands such as contract workers should be made permanent or their salaries should be on a par with permanent employees, till date no steps had been taken by the government in this regard. 

They are left with no option but to observe strike to get their demands met, he said.

Singh threatened to intensify their stir if the government did not accept their demands.

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