Mangaluru, July 26, 2016: The normal life in rural pockets of Dakshina Kannada district was affected on Monday following an indefinite strike called by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employees’ unions. However, the strike did not affect Mangaluru city as a large number of private buses operate in the region.
Reports are rife that the KSRTC bus stands in DK and Udupi totally wore a deserted look. The normal life in rural pockets of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district was affected on July 25,Monday following an indefinite strike called by KSRTC, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation employees’ unions. However, the strike did not show marked effect in Mangaluru city as private buses are the majority here. The KSRTC Volvo buses plying to and fro from Mangaluru to Udupi suspended the service.
Only Kerala State Road Transport Corporation was operating service between Mangaluru and Kasargod, Puttur and Kasargod and Sullia and Kasargod. A traveller of Koppal who was waiting in a bus shelter, said he was not aware of the strike. He, with his family of three, were travelling back to his native place after completing their work in the city. "Hoping to travel to my native place, we had come to the bus stand late night on July 24, Sunday. We hope at least by evening, the bus services will start. Otherwise, we have no where to go other than stay in the bus stand." Many from surroundings were also waiting at the bus stand said they were unaware of the strike.
Police were stationed at the bus stand to ensure that no untoward incidents occur. An KSRTC official said, "We are protesting against meagre hike of 8% in our salary and waiting for the government to respond to our demand. The state government has taken a unilateral decision to increase the wages by 8 %, which cannot be accepted by employees. The employees are demanding a 35% hike in salaries, extension of medical benefits to dependents of employees, hike in daily allowance for drivers and conductors to Rs 300, an increase in the repast allowance to at least Rs 100 and opening of subsidised canteen in all the depots."
KSRTC buses connect the nook and corner of the State. But the strike affected people in rural areas seriously. Divisional KSRTC Divisional Controller said the division has 450 buses with 245 departures within the district. All buses remained off the road. However, all the long-route buses have reached their destinations from Mangaluru on Sunday night, he added. A KSRTC divisional controller said a total of 50 to 55 buses are in Udupi depot. He said 15 buses belonging to Mangaluru and Udupi depots were damaged in Hassan and Channarayapatna. However, the agitation is peaceful all over the district, he added.
Schools and colleges : Remained open. Attendance of students in schools and colleges in rural areas, especially in Bantwal, Belthangady, Sullia and Puttur as the students rely on KSRTC buses was below normal. The attendance of students in colleges at Uppinangady, Kadaba, Keyoor, Sullia, Kaniyoor and Belthangady was also low. In several rural areas, students had to travel on the footboard of private buses to reach the college. A few colleges in Belthangady taluk had declared holiday.
Pilgrims : Visiting Dharmasthala Sri Manjunatheshwara Temple and Kukke Subramanya temple was also poor. Some private buses from Moodbidri and Karkala via Naravi to Dharmasthala provided a relief to the visitors from Dharmasthala.
Pvt transport in demand : In the wake of the strike, people were seen dependent on private and own vehicles for commuting . Several commuters complained that private transporters were overcharging. Hotels and business establishments at KSRTC bus stand at Sullia were closed as no customers were expected. A stall owner, said, "Hope the strike ends soon. Without business, we find it difficult to pay the rent." Encashing the KSRTC strike, the private buses were collecting Rs 750 per ticket to Bengaluru instead of Rs 500.
CFI, Campus Front of India : Condemned the DK and Udupi district administrations for not declaring holidays for schools and colleges. In a release, office-bearers of the forum said the students who possess bus pass also faced inconvenience. Students from Udupi, Puttur and Belthangady, who come to Mangaluru to study, were affected and had to travel on the jam-packed private buses, the forum said in the press release.