State Roadways employees launched a strike against alleged privatisation of Haryana's transport system.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said his government is ready to discuss the demands of Haryana Roadways employees who are on strike and urged them to join duty immediately keeping in mind the problems faced by people during the festive season.
The employees have been on strike since October 16 against the state government's decision to hire 700 buses of private owners, seeing the move as a step towards privatisation of the transport department. On Friday, they extended their strike until Monday.
According to an official statement, all roadways union office-bearers have been urged to come to the office of Director General, State Transport, Haryana, in Chandigarh on Sunday to discuss and resolve the matter.
Mr Khattar said the genuine demands of the employees on strike would be considered sympathetically and action would be taken to fulfill them.
He said it is "our constitutional and moral responsibility" to ensure that the general public is not inconvenienced, especially so during the festive season.
The Haryana Roadways employees have this misconception that engaging 700 private buses would lead to the department's privatisation, Mr Khattar said, stressing that those buses would have conductors from the department.
According to the norms of the department, 980 conductors would be recruited for these buses and the fare charged from passengers of these buses would be deposited to the state exchequer, he said.
The owners of these buses would be paid as per the fixed rate of the various depots (from Rs 31.01 to Rs 37.30 per km) and it is not a stage carriage or contract carriage scheme.
In fact, under Public Private Partnership mode, 700 additional buses would be added to the fleet of Haryana State Transport so that the general public would get cheaper, reliable and convenient transport facility.
These buses hired on per kilometre basis would not be given any permit and would ply on the permit and fixed routes of Haryana Roadways buses, he said.