• Transport Unions Strike, 22,000 Buses Go Off Roads, Commuters Hit In Tamil Nadu

    Commuters are facing a harrowing time in Tamil Nadu as 22,000 state-run buses have remained off roads after many transport unions began their indefinite strike on Sunday. Their demands include revision of wages, settlement of Rs. 1,700 crore dues for more than 10,000 retired workers and government taking over operational losses of transport corporations among other issues.

    As a majority of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation buses stopped plying yesterday after talks with the government failed, passengers across the state were stranded for hours with not many commuting options available. The government has agreed to discuss the matter with the unions to reach a consensus.

    Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar said 37 unions were in support of the government. Ten other unions, including those headed by DMK and Left, are participating in the strike. He said the government was ready to hold talks to break the logjam if the unions came forward for discussions.

    “Efforts are on to operate the bus service in full strength even as 2,000 private vehicles have been pressed into action in Chennai to clear the rush,” he said.

    Police protection is being provided to buses plying on the roads, the minister said. The government is also mulling deploying retired and private drivers to run additional buses, officials said. It has also requested the Southern Railway to operate inter-city services between Chennai and other cities. It has also increased number of services on the various suburban routes in and around Chennai. Derek Watt Jersey

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