Transport Workers Stage Protest - The New Indian Express

Transport Workers Stage Protest

Published: 17th January 2014 10:19 AM

Last Updated: 17th January 2014 10:19 AM

More than 300 people, including employees of BMTC and KSRTC, drivers of autorickshaws and ambulances and lorry owners, took out a rally in the city on Thursday to protest the government’s decision to pass the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) bill 2013. The rally was staged from Town Hall to Mysore Bank Circle.

“This is against democratic values. If this bill is passed, it will mean that public transport employees and autorickshaw drivers will not be able to protest or demand anything from the State government, even though we are doing so by peaceful democratic means,” said B V Raghavendra, convener of the All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation.

The Karnataka ESMA was in force from 1994 to 2004. Last year, a bill to reenact ESMA was introduced in the Legislature. “If the bill becomes an Act, it will mean employees in the public transport sector can be arrested and jailed without bail and without questions being asked. The punishment is six months in jail and a fine. Even those who support such protests through donations can be jailed,” Raghavendra charged.

The protesters submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister asking him not to pass the bill. 

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