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MSRTC strike: Bombay HC directs Maharashtra govt to set up panel to address employees

A section of the MSRTC employees is not reporting for duty since October 28 seeking merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government, according to union sources.

Published: 08th November 2021 03:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2021 03:14 PM   |  A+A-

Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court (File photo| PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to set up a special committee to address the issue raised by staffers of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) seeking to be treated as state government employees.

The court directed the state to issue a government resolution by Monday evening for setting up the special panel.

A section of the MSRTC employees is not reporting for duty since October 28 seeking merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government, according to union sources.

The HC last week directed the corporation's employees to refrain from going on strike and later had also rapped a union of the workers for going ahead with its strike despite the court's order restraining it from doing so.

On Monday, a vacation bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade on Monday, while hearing a plea filed by the MSRTC against the strike, noted that though in its earlier orders it had directed the workers to resume their duties, an attempt is now being made to amicably resolve the issue by requesting the state government to sympathetically consider the demand of the MSRTC workers.

The court said the committee shall hear the parties concerned and submit its recommendations to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

"The Chief Minister, State of Maharashtra, will consider the recommendations and submit the same to the court with his views/opinion on the said recommendations," the bench said in its order.

The HC said the state government shall set up a three-member committee on Monday itself, comprising additional chief secretaries of the state finance and transport departments and principal secretary of the finance department.

"The MSRTC's managing director shall act as a coordinator and assist the committee, but he shall have no powers in the decision-making. The committee shall hear representatives of the 28 unions and representatives of the MSRTC and thereafter, submit their decision/recommendations to the chief minister," the court said.

"The entire exercise shall be completed within a period of 12 weeks from today," the HC said.

The court said the committee shall hold its first meeting at 4 pm on Monday, and the minutes of the meeting shall be placed before the court at 5 pm.

Advocate Gunaratan Sadavarte, appearing for the MSRTC workers, said the employees were not willing to end the strike till the government resolution is issued and the first meeting is held.

The HC said once the minutes of meeting are submitted to the court and all the advocates concerned go through them, "the unions representing the MSRTC employees shall forthwith withdraw the strike/agitation and resume their duties".

Bus operations at 223 depots of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) were shut on Monday morning due to the strike of employees, officials said earlier in the day.

Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab last week said a discussion on the demand for merger of the MSRTC with the state government and other issues related to the loss-making corporation will take place after Diwali.

The MSRTC employees last month started a "spontaneous" agitation over their various demands, including those related to salary.

A majority of them returned to work after the state government accepted most of their demands, but the issue of merger remains unresolved.

The MSRTC is one of the biggest state transport corporations in the county with a fleet of more than 16,000 buses and around 93,000 employees, including drivers and conductors.

The corporation used to ferry over 65 lakh passengers daily before the coronavirus outbreak last year.



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