They have rejected our offer and the strike is only adding to the misery of the common man, says Yediyurappa
Commuters suffered inconvenience due to the indefinite strike by NWKRTC employees in most parts of North Karnataka.
The Belagavi bus stand was deserted since Wednesday morning. Only a few NWKRTC staff and policemen were seen. Some drivers and conductors were deputed to the few buses that operated between Belagavi and Hubballi-Dharwad.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Yashoda Vantagodi and other officers visited the bus bay outside the bus stand from where private buses were allowed to operate to various taluks and districts.
Shivappa Bhoj, a trader from Chikkodi who had come to purchase food items from a wholesale dealer in Belagavi,, said that he was struck in the city since Tuesday. “I will stay for another day and go back by taxi on Thursday,” he said.
Ananth Kumar Pawar, an Army soldier, was stranded in Belagavi. “I have taken a month’s leave to go to Kalaburagi. I took a bus from Nashik to Belagavi, to go to Kalaburagi, but I am unable to go anywhere,” he said. He said that he would wait till evening and try to find a connecting train.
CM issues warning
Earlier, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa warned that strict action will be taken against the striking employees of the State transport undertakings if they did not resume work in the next day or two.
“I have appealed to them to come to the negotiating table. I am ready to talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time. But they have rejected our offer. Their strike is only adding to the misery of the common man,” he said. He spoke to journalists before leaving for Ramdurg for election campaigning for BJP nominee for the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat bypolls Mangala Angadi.
“We have agreed to eight of the nine demands of the employees. But they are adamantly holding on to the one demand that they be considered as government employees and be given pay commission scales. This is not possible as we are suffering from severe financial constraint. We have told them several times. Despite knowing our conditions, they are acting strange. I will make an offer of talks again. I urge them to stop the protest and come to us for negotiations. If not, we will be forced to take action. Strict action will be taken if they don’t return to work in the next day or two, he said.
He reiterated that Ms. Angadi would be elected by a margin of 2.5 lakh votes. “I am meeting leaders of various communities. They have all pledged support to our candidate,” the Chief Minister said.
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