The Haryana Roadways employees went on a two-day strike on Tuesday to protest the state government’s decision to introduce 700 private buses in the state.

Despite the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) being in force the roadways workers went on strike and staged sit-ins at several depots across the state, including in Rohtak, Bhiwani, Sirsa, and Chandigarh.

The Essential Services Maintenance Act prohibits strikes by employees in an essential service.

Police personnels were deployed at several bus stands to prevent any untoward incident and buses plied with a police escort at some roadways depots.

The agitating employees said they would not allow the government to launch 700 private buses in the state as it would lead to privatization of the transport department.

“We want the Haryana government to withdraw its decision of introducing private buses in the state,” a union leader said on Tuesday.

They said the government should instead increase the number of buses under the roadways department.

There are about 19,000 employees in Haryana Roadways, which has a fleet of 4,100 buses in which nearly 12 lakh passengers travel daily.

The government would effectively implement the ESMA, a senior official said.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the Haryana government to ensure strict implementation of the ESMA during the two-day strike called by the state’s Roadways Employees Union.

In August also, the employees had gone on a day-long strike to protest the government’s decision to introduce 700 private buses in the state.