Bus strike over LAccMI scheme pinches passengers in Odisha
In Koraput, people of both rural and urban areas had to bear the brunt of the 24-hour strike.
MALKANGIRI/JEYPORE : Commuters and passengers were put to a lot of inconvenience as private bus operators kept their fleet off the roads in Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts opposing the state government’s Location Accessible Multi-modal Initiative (LAccMI) scheme on Monday.
The 24-hour strike began at 6 am as all private buses in the undivided Koraput region went off the roads. Hundreds of passengers were seen stranded at Malkangiri bus stand from where most of the vehicles ply to tribal-dominated areas of Kalimela, Podia, Motu, Chitrakonda, Mathili, Khairput and Kudmulgumma. Some of the passengers were forced to hire private cabs and auto-rickshaws by paying hefty fares.
Sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was supposed to launch the scheme from the sports stadium here on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. Accordingly, a fleet of 36 buses were kept ready to be flagged off. However, the programme was cancelled due to the protest.
In Koraput, people of both rural and urban areas had to bear the brunt of the 24-hour strike. Private bus service from Jeypore, Koraput, Semiliguda, Umerkote Rayagada and Gunpur was paralysed due to the protest. Similarly, there were no buses plying to 42 panchayats of Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarangpur districts.
“I have some urgent work to attend to in the state capital on Tuesday. But I can’t reach Bhubaneswar on time due to the strike by private bus operators,” rued Ramakanta Rath, a passenger stranded at Jeypore bus stand.
The private bus operators are protesting the government decision to not include their fleet in LAccMI scheme. General secretary of Jeypore private bus owners’ association Narendra Mohanty said the bandh was total in undivided Koraput region. Private operators will incur huge losses if the government doesn’t include their buses under the scheme. If the demand is not met, protests will be intensified and all private buses across the state will remain off the roads from October 10.