Day 2: Impasse continues, and so will the bus strike

Day 2: Impasse continues, and so will the bus strike

Submitted by Editor on Tue, 2016-07-26 21:26 Bengaluru: Talks between protesting union members of KSRTC, BMTC, NWKRTC and NEKRTC and the transport department on Tuesday failed to break the impasse, which means that buses may not return to service on Wednesday as well.Speaking to the media after holding talks with union members, Chief Minister Siddaramiah said the transport department was already under “financial strain”, as a result of which the government will not be able to increase their salaries. “Their salaries and benefits are good when compared with other states. We agreed to a 10 percent hike but they have asked for 35 �ike which is not possible,” Siddaramaiah said.Manjunath, Office Secretary, KSRTC Staff and Workers Union, said the strike was likely to continue on Wednesday as well.Manjunath said the transport minister had not yet called the union members for talks and was only appealing to the striking employees to end the strike through media. "The situation is so worse that the mechanical engineers, police and transport department senior officials started a few buses services under police protection. The government should set aside its ego and come for talks,” said Manjunath.Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said he will walk the extra mile to convince protesting employees and ESMA Act will not be invoked. “ESMA act will be last resort. We hope the deadlock gets resolved,” he said.Desperate measuresThe transport department in coordination with the police department started BMTC bus services across the city but did not charge for the ride. These public buses were available in the core city areas like Majestic, Shantinagar, Shivajinagar. Sources said the department took help of mechanical engineers and other trainee drivers.Autos loot passengersAuto drivers are making hay due to the strike. Traffic department officials, dressed in civil clothes, caught several autos around Majestic who were fleecing passengersOn Tuesday, 1,391 drivers were booked for offenses like over charging, refusing a ride and riding without meter. The department also seized 222 autos.