The Karnataka State Private Vehicles Owner Association has organized a strike in Bengaluru city to protest against the Shakti scheme, one of the five pre-election promises of the ruling Congress party. This scheme offers free travel to women on government buses, but private transport operators argue that it impacts their profits negatively. The federation, consisting of 32 private transport associations, anticipates that most private transport services will not be operational during the strike.
Duration of the Strike:
Private bus, taxi, and auto unions have called for a shutdown from midnight on Sunday to midnight on Monday. Bengaluru traffic police have issued a traffic advisory to help the public plan accordingly.
Why Private Transporters Are Protesting:
The federation is calling for a ban on bike taxis and is urging the government to extend the Shakti scheme to private buses, among other demands. Private transporters claim that the Shakti scheme has adversely affected their business, and despite repeated discussions, the state government has not met their demands.
The State Government’s Response:
The Karnataka Transport Department has put in place alternative arrangements to manage the strike. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy stated that the department is preparing to operate numerous buses on the day of the strike. He assured the public that the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has arranged around 500 extra buses to minimize inconvenience.
“We have arranged BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) buses for schoolchildren, office workers, and those going to hospitals. Nothing will be disrupted. They (private transport) have the right to strike, and we respect that,” said Mr. Reddy.
The transport minister has instructed officials to ensure government buses run on routes to schools and colleges in Bengaluru. Additionally, more buses will be stationed near hospitals to ensure that patients do not encounter any issues.
Impact on Vehicles:
Approximately 7 to 10 lakh vehicles, including autos, taxis, airport taxis, maxi cabs, goods vehicles, school vehicles, stage carriages, contract carriages, and corporate buses, will stay off the roads tomorrow, according to S Nataraj Sharma, president of the federation.