The Haryana Roadways employees went on a two-day strike on Tuesday to protest the state government's decision to introduce 700 private buses in the state.
Despite the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) being in force, the roadways workers went on strike and staged sit-ins at several depots across the state, including in Rohtak, Sirsa, Hisar, Ambala and Chandigarh, under the banner of Haryana Roadways Karamchari Joint Action Committee.
The ESMA prohibits strikes by employees in an essential service.
The agitating employees said they would not allow the government to launch 700 private buses in the state as it would lead to privatisation of the transport department. They also alleged that the move is an attempt to favour some chosen few.
"We want the Haryana government to withdraw its decision of introducing private buses in the state," Haryana Roadways Workers Union general secretary Sarbat Singh Punia said.
He said the government should instead increase the number of buses under the roadways department.
Mr Punia said if the government does not immediately withdraw its decision, then the future course of action will be decided at an emergency meeting by the striking employees on Wednesday.
"Our strike was supported by many other employees' union bodies as well," he said.
"Despite the government's move to crush our strike by imposing the ESMA, ordering suspension of many workers and rounding up 176 of our workers and leaders, over 4,000 buses remained off roads," he added.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday directed the Haryana government to ensure strict implementation of the ESMA during the two-day strike called by the state's Roadways Employees Union.
Mr Punia said rather than inviting the striking employees for talks, the government was adamant on its decision.
There are about 19,000 employees in Haryana Roadways, which has a fleet of 4,100 buses in which nearly 12 lakh passengers travel daily.
The strike inconvenienced thousands of commuters.
The Haryana Roadways buses also travel to other states including Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
Police personnel were deployed at several bus depots in Haryana to prevent any untoward incident and buses plied with police escort at some roadways depots including Bhiwani, Jhajjar and Gurgaon.
As a precautionary measure, authorities imposed Section 144 CrPC, prohibiting gathering of more than four persons, across all Haryana Roadways' depots.
The state government has refused to accept the demand of the striking employees.
In August also, the Haryana Roadways employees had gone on a day-long strike to protest the government's decision to introduce private buses in the state.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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