The face-off between the Haryana government and the agitating roadways employees deepened on Wednesday with the state government suspending 120 workers while the protestors still pressing for their demand for cancellation of permits given to private operators to play buses on nearly 273 routes.
Apart from suspension of 120 roadways workers mainly of them are leaders of employees' unions, state's Transport Department has also written the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) for immediate action against those who try to interrupt the transportation.
Failed to reach any consensus despite two meetings on Monday and Tuesday respectively, third meeting scheduled to be held between the Transport minister Krishan Panwar and four employee's unions, also could not take place on Wednesday evening.
Accusing the state government of permitting private players to ply buses on profitable routes, the roadways employee has made it clear that they won't withdraw the agitation until and unless the government cancel private permits on the contentious routes.
Meanwhile, commuters continued to face tough times with nearly 4000 Haryana roadways buses not plying on 1300 routes.
According to the official information, over 13 lakh passengers use to travel in Haryana roadways. The strike is also causing a loss of more than Rs.3.5 Crore per day.
While the state government justifying permission to private bus operators on 273 routes saying that the decision won't affect the future of the roadways employee in any sense as against the required 13500 buses, the roadways fleet comprises merely around 4200 buses and the private buses would fill the gap.
Additional Chief Secretary to Haryana Transport Department, SS Dhillon said, "The demand is of the agitating employees is totaly illegal as it's not going to harm their carrier. Even allowing private buses on some routes would help in catering more passengers."
"Out of the 273 routes, even there are no applications for 118 routes. Besides, we are planning to induct 1000 more buses in roadways fleet within the current financial year," he added.
On the other hand, Haryana Roadways Workers Union's Hari Narayan Sharma said, "Earlier permits to private players used to be given after consultation with the roadways while this time the Transport Department itself took the decision and given profitable routes to the private buses. This has not only affected the roadways revenue adversely, but also resulted into conflicts between the roadways employees and private operators clashing on same roads."
"Moreover, despite repeated claims the state government has failed to induct or procure new buses in past two and half years. Even the Haryana Roadway Engineer Corporation in Gurugram taking care of manufacturing buses, has also failed to manufacture any bus in past years," he said.
According to the information, in 2013 Transport policy, there were 3519 permits to private operators for 1018 routes but in 2017 routes were decreased to 273 but provision was made for unlimited private permits.