Berhampur: May 21 (LocalWire): Roads wore a deserted look and normal life was paralysed in Bhanjanagar, a sub divisional town in Ganjam district following the dawn-to dusk bandh observed by the casual employees of the Odisha state road transport corporation’s Bhanjanagara unit.
The employees, who have been on strike for the last ten days protesting the non-payment of their monthly salaries for the past seven months, today called the bandh alleging the corporation’s decision to shut the unit at Bhanjanagar.
Several other organizations like auto, private bus employees, bar and market associations extended their solidarity to the OSRTC employees.
Vehicular traffic was thus off the roads and all shops barring a few pan shops, downed their shutters in response to the bandh. Government offices and banks were, however, open.
Security was tightened with deployment of forces, said inspector in charge, Bhanjanagar police station, Sudeepta Sahu although no untoward incident was reported during the bandh.
OSRTC’s causal workers association president of Bhanjanagara, BK Panda,condemned the decision of the corporation.
‘When the employees started their agitation demanding their pending salaries, the corporation has decided to shut its unit. It’s an unfortunate event, he said. As many as 76 driver and conductors were in dharna.
OSRTC’s General Manager (Administration) RP Sahu said the corporation had not yet decided to close the unit. ‘In fact, we are in process of reinforcing and providing more buses to this unit so that it can be economically viable and recently a new bus-stand has also been provided to Bhanjangara.’
The unit had incurred a loss of Rs one crore last year, a press note said and called the strike by the OSRTC employees illegal since majority of them are not employees of the corporation as their contract agreement had expired in February and they had not applied for a renewal of their contract.
Bhanjanagara unit was operating 23 buses in different routes. ‘To help the passengers and to save the corporation from further loss due to non-operation, the OSRTC administration asked the vehicles to ply as usual from nearby depots.