Private bus owners' body in Odisha has announced that it would go on an indefinite strike from December 1, demanding the restriction on the government bus services under a scheme from panchayat areas to block-level destinations.
In a meeting of members of the Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association on Wednesday, it was decided that around 8,000 buses will remain off the road from the beginning of the next month, a functionary of the body said.
They have also decided to stage a dharna in front of the Odisha Assembly on November 22 in Bhubaneswar, said Barada Prasanna Acharya, a member of the body.
The association has been opposing the government’s plan to operate buses from blocks to district headquarters under its scheme- Location Accessible Multimodal Initiative (LAccMI).
"During a meeting with stakeholders at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district, we have decided to go on a strike from December 1," he said. Earlier, the association had postponed its proposed strike twice, keeping in view of difficulties to be faced by passengers.
Acharya claimed that the state government had earlier assured private bus owners that buses under LAccMI scheme would be operated between gram panchayats to block headquarters.
"However, they operate buses to district headquarters, which affects the business of private bus owners," the association's secretary Debendra Sahoo said.
The Odisha government has launched the LAccMI scheme intending to connect villages to the state capital.
As many as 1,000 buses will be engaged under the scheme for which a budget allocation of Rs 3,178 crore has been made by the state government.
“We have already submitted our representation to the Odisha government. We demanded that buses under the LAccMI scheme must not be operated from blocks to district headquarters. These passenger vehicles should be allowed to run from panchayats to blocks. We also want compensation, waiver of additional taxes,” Sahoo said.
He also pointed out that the government has been giving subsidies in fare to passengers of LAccMI buses.
“How can we survive if the LAccMI bus passengers get a subsidy in fare,” Sahoo said.
As many as 4 lakh people are engaged in the private bus operation in the state.
Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.