After lakhs of contractual teachers who have threatened to go on indefinite strike from February, truckers in Bihar have also decided to go on indefinite strike from midnight today to protest new Minerals Act of the state government. The move is likely to cripple the state economy, already in bad shape after total prohibition. Bihar is already losing revenue of around Rs 5,000 crores per year due to the liquor ban, according to official records.
“About 1.3 lakh trucks across the state will come to a grinding halt from midnight. We had given a notice to the state government a fortnight ago that we may have to take this drastic step, if our demands are not met. We are left with no other choice”, Bihar Motors Transport Federation president Uday Shankar Prasad Singh said.
The truckers have strong objections over the new Minerals Act under which it has been made mandatory for every truck carrying minerals to be equipped with GPS and e-locking. “We have been requesting that while truck operators are ready to get these installed but the government relax the mandatory technical specifications,” Mr Singh observed. He also sought for withdrawal of recent hike in the permit registration fee and Rs 50 per day fine slapped on vehicles that are not found up to mark in fitness tests.
The development comes after almost four lakhs teachers appointed on contractual basis announced to go on indefinite strike from 1 February next year seeking ‘equal salary for equal work’. Last month, Patna High Court in a landmark judgment ruled that teachers appointed on contractual basis were entitled for getting salary at par with the regular teachers appointed in government schools. A division bench comprising chief justice Rajendra Menon and justice Anil Kumar Pandey gave the judgment, while hearing a bunch of petitions from contractual teachers.
Now, the contractual teachers have served an ultimatum to the state government to implement the HC order by January 31 next year failing which they will go on strike and disrupt the matriculation and intermediate examinations which are scheduled to begin from February. “We request the state government to implement the High Court order by 31 January, 2018, failing which, we will proceed on indefinite strike and chock the academic system,” the teachers’ organizations had warned.
Likewise, nurses appointed on contractual basis too are protesting in Bihar seeking regularisation of service on ‘same salary for same work’.