Odisha Bus Owners’ Association To Halt Services Alleging Harassment By Striking Drivers

Bhubaneswar: Alleging harassment by striking Drivers Mahasangh activists, All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOBOA) on Thursday threatened to stop playing over 14000 buses if the state government fails to remove roadblocks by agitators on the national highways.

The private bus owners’ outfit, which has not joined the Drivers Mahasangh strike that began on Wednesday, had agreed to run their vehicles. However, when private buses plied on the roads this morning, their staff were allegedly manhandled by the agitating drivers of commercial vehicles at several places. As a result, they were forced to terminate service alleging lack of police protection.

Addressing a press meet, AOBOA general secretary Debendra Kumar Sahu said that employees of private buses were not provided adequate protection for plying the vehicles despite a promise made by the government earlier.

“Many of our staff members were harassed and detained by the agitating drivers. Therefore, we were left with no other option but to stop plying our buses,” he said.

Demanding immediate steps to clear the national highways by removing the roadblocks by the striking drivers, Sahu said if the state government fails to ensure this the association we will be forced to stop the bus services from tomorrow.

All the bus owners will stage a protest by halting the vehicles on the highways in all the 30 districts tomorrow, he said, adding that the association will be forced to stop movement of buses for an indefinite period If the government fails to take appropriate step.

Around 14,000 private buses belonging to 8,000 owners will be off the roads in the state, Sahu added.

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