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Karnataka transport union calls for strike, ‘Bengaluru bandh’



Karnataka State Private Vehicles Owners Association has called for a Bengaluru bandh on September 11. Auto, Taxi, Cab and private buses will not run on streets on Monday. The strike was in protest of the Shakti scheme which offers free travel facilities to women on non-premium government buses. Private transporters have been saying that they are being seriously affected by this scheme and are demanding compensation from the State govt. All the 32 transport unions have decided to join the strike and are making some demands from the government. The protest comes after the Congress government did not take any measures on the demands of the association. Results claim that the association has lost around 40% of its revenue since the implementation of the Shakti scheme. 


The State Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that Citizens do not need to worry, the government is ready to tackle the trouble created by private taxi, bus, and auto unions. The Karnataka Transport Department made all the arrangements for its people. The department also issued a traffic advisory for the people and requested to avoid the KG road, Sheshadri road, roads around Freedom Park and Majestic bus stand, and GT road. 


Private drivers have alleged that the Shakti scheme has adversely affected them and the State government has not met their 28 demands despite repeated discussions. Transport unions had earlier held talks with State Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy on July 24, just three days before the protest was initially planned for July 27. At that time, Reddy assured them that 28 of their 30 demands would be met by the end of August 28. However, Reddy said that he would take the matter before the Chief Minister and discuss the issues with him. When there was no response from the government, the unions decided to go on a one-day strike on September 11. 


Some opposition leaders and political analysts said that Congress is not only increasing the debt of state transport but also killing the business of many middle and lower-class people. “Karnataka government should address the issues of private transporters,” says BJP leader and spokesperson S Prakash.


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