Balangir, June 15: Private bus and truck owners’ association today stopped plying their vehicles here in protest against strict implementation of traffic rules after Avinash Kumar took charge as the district’s superintendent of police (SP) about a fortnight ago.
Earlier, two drivers, whose reckless driving had led to the death of two persons in separate incidents last week, were charged with homicide and booked under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Today’s strike created a “bandh-like” situation as private buses, trucks and taxis kept off the road in most places causing problems to commuters.
One Tribikram Bohidar, who came to Balangir from Sonepur by bus, was struggling to return home. “I came here on some work in an early morning bus from Sonepur. But, now the buses are not plying. Similar is the case with trucks and taxis. I have no idea how to get back home,” said Bohidar.
Balangir residents, who work in offices in other towns, too, had to face much difficulty while returning home.
Surya Dash, a government employee working at Patnagarh, had to take leave as he could not join duty because of the transport problem. “On reaching the bus stand, I came to know that bus drivers had called a strike,” Dash said.
The bus owners justified their strike by saying that the administration was victimising them.
Ashok Purohit, a bus owner, said police were unnecessarily severe on them. “Earlier, whenever there were accidents, the drivers used to get bail immediately. But, now they are booked under such sections that they are not granted bail. There are various factors that cause accidents. Often two-wheeler riders are rash and do not adhere to traffic rules. You can’t always blame the drivers for an accident,” Purohit said.
President of Balangir private bus owners’ association Prabin Mishra said what the police were doing with drivers did not come under the purview of the law. Referring to the accident caused by one Krupamayee travels, in which a youth was killed, he said the driver had been booked under Section 304.
“The driver has been booked under sections 304 and 326 of the IPC, which is not under the purview of the law,” Mishra said.
Kumar, however, said the police did nothing wrong. “While driving a vehicle, the driver must take note of the traffic, the parking and the vending zones. We are trying to improve traffic management in the district and what we are doing is well under the purview of the law,” he said.