The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services across the State were severely affected on Friday following the 24-hour strike called by a section of unions in protest against the delay in salary disbursal.
The KSRTC bus depots across the State were deserted as majority of the employees stayed away from work. Though the corporation maintained that around 700 services were operated till 9 a.m., the employees’ unions said the strike was almost total. Only a few city and super fast services which were on the route from the previous day operated.
In Kochi, hundreds of passengers remained stranded at the nine bus depots in Ernakulam following the strike. Only five bus services – four ordinary and a fast passenger – operated trips in the entire district on the day. All services from Ernakulam depot, including superfast and inter-State buses, were affected as only two drivers turned up for duty. Even members of the CITU-affiliated union, which was not participating in the strike, kept away from duty on the day, said a senior officer.
Only three services operated from the KSRTC terminal in Kozhikode till 11 a.m. The situation was almost similar in other depots such as Thamarassery and Vadakara in the district. The stranded passengers were later found depending on the service of private buses and trains.
Kasaragod district transport officer Roy Jacob said that out of 66 services from Kasaragod and Kanhangad depots, only four services to Mangaluru, Kannur, Kanhangad and Sullia were operated. Similarly, out of 360 employees, only nine employees turned up for duty. The bus services from Kottayam and Pathnamthitta districts were also severely affected due to the strike.
The corporation maintained that 3,456 employees, including 359 temporary employees, turned up for work on Friday. Out of the 700 services it operated till 9 a.m., 250 services were from the south zone, 100 from the central zone and 350 from the north zone.
The newly launched company KSRTC-SWIFT operated 25 services. Further, additional services were operated from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode (2), Kottayam (2), Kottarakara (1) and Bengaluru (1) in view of the strike. The employees decided to strike work after a talk with Transport Minister Antony Raju on Thursday failed to yield any result in terms of assuring salary before 5th of every month.