Strike by Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation employees on Thursday hit public transport services as only 50% of buses were operated by the TNSTC Virudhunagar.
While only 30% of buses set out of the eight depots in Virudhunagar district in the morning, it gradually went up to 44% by afternoon and 50% later.
However, with trade unions intensifying the strike from Friday and even members of Anna Thozhir Sanga Peravai too joining the agitation, the officials felt the pressure in operating buses. Out of the scheduled 403 bus services, only 206 buses were operated. Among them were 120 muffosil buses and 86 town buses.
“While muffosil buses are operated with single crew throughout the day, the city bus crew operates in two shifts. However, many town buses had to be operated with the same crew that had reported for duty in the morning,” an official said.
Meanwhile, the State Government has advised the TNSTC officials to hire outsiders to the post of drivers and conductors to operate buses from Friday.
More than 65% of buses were off the road as the transport workers’ indefinite strike evoked good response from employees affiliated to nine trade unions.
Demanding immediate commencement of wage settlement talks, disbursal of gratuity and pension benefits on the day of retirement, filling-up of vacancies in transport corporation, the workers announced indefinite strike from February 25.
With the strike beginning on Thursday, an auspicious day, the public were put to a lot of hardship. Of the 1,985 buses plying from 24 depots in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Nagercoil divisions, less than 700 were operated.
After only 20% of the buses were operated till 7 a.m., the situation improved slightly with a few more pressed into service in Tirunelveli. Of the 564 buses from 11 depots in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts, 262 (46%) were operated till 9.30 a.m.
Only 678 of 1,235 personnel reported for work despite stern warning from the government.
Of the 61 buses in Papanasam depot, only 15 were operated and only 60 of the 240 affiliated to Tenkasi, Shencottai, Puliyangudi and Sankarankovil depots hit the roads.
In Thoothukudi district, more than 70% of the buses were off the road. Of the 64 operated from Kovilpatti depot, only nine plied till 10 a.m. to Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Tenkasi, Sankarankovil and Rajapalayam. Bus services to rural areas were totally paralysed.
Private buses were operated as usual, which came as a great relief to passengers.
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