Nearly 65 lakh people travel by state transport buses on a daily basis
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday posted for hearing on Friday two public interest litigations (PILs) filed against the ongoing indefinite strike of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) staff. Justice SK Shinde, before whom the PILs were listed, said he would hear the petitions on Friday. The petitions were filed today highlighting the problems being faced by people due to the strike, especially in rural areas, where state transport buses are the only mode of public transport.
According to the petitions, nearly 65 lakh people travel by state transport buses on a daily basis. The PILs have urged the High Court to declare the strike, which started from October 16 midnight, as “illegal and bad in law”. “We are relying on a government notification and court orders wherein it is specifically held that employees working in essential services for public at large, cannot go on strikes.
“Here, the MSRTC employees are very much aware that it is Diwali season and lakhs of people use their service to go to their hometowns, but still they went on strike,” petitioners’ advocate Pooja Thorat said. She said while the MSRTC employees’ demands are legitimate, the manner in which they have gone on strike just before the festive season is not correct. Over one lakh employees of the MSRTC have gone on an indefinite strike demanding a hike in salary.
The state-run corporation MSRTC runs 18,000 buses, some of which go to far- flung areas which are not connected by rail network.