Orissa imposes ban on strike of private bus owners

October 5th, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 5 (IANS) The Orissa government Monday decided to impose Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against private bus owners who went on an indefinite strike from Sunday after the state refused to roll back the toll fee collected along the national highways.
“ESMA would be applied today (Monday) in particular against those bus owners who are on strike. The strike has inconvenienced millions of people of our state. This should not be allowed to continue as it has inconvenienced our people very badly,” Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik said.

The private bus owners in Orissa went on an indefinite strike from Sunday after the state government refused to roll back the toll fee and turned down their three-point demand.

Two days of marathon talks failed to break the impasse and convince the bus owners against the strike. The state government had earlier appealed to the bus owners not to go on strike and said that the toll fee is collected uniformly by the National Highways Authority of India across the country and the state government has nothing to do with it.

According to the state private bus owners’ association, about 5,000-6,000 private buses are off the road in the state.

Since the state-wide strike continued for the second day Monday, the people have been badly hit as there are few state-owned buses to ferry passengers.

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