Bhubaneswar, Oct 20: Private buses in Odisha have gone a state-wide strike from today following the breakdown of talks between the All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBOA) and the State government.
As part of the protest organized by the Private Bus Owners' Association, approximately 14,000 private buses ceased their operations throughout the state. This indefinite strike was launched in opposition to the Location-Accessible Multimodal Initiative (LAccMI) introduced by the state government.
Following a deadlock in negotiations between the Odisha Private Bus Owners Association and the state government, private buses remained off the roads in the state. The private bus owners in Odisha remained resolute in their decision to commence an indefinite strike starting on October 20.
These private bus operators, in protest of the state government's LAccMI initiative aimed at providing affordable transportation for people across the state, announced an indefinite strike commencing at 6 am.
Debendra Sahu, the secretary of the Private Bus Owners' Association, communicated to the media, stating, "We have adhered to our initial decision to begin an indefinite strike on October 20 at 6 am, as the discussions with the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) on Thursday ended inconclusively." He also expressed that despite their discussions with the CMO on Thursday, they had not received any written assurances concerning their demands.
Sahu further emphasized that the decision to conduct an indefinite strike during the festive period was not intended to cause inconvenience to the public. He expressed, "We were compelled to take this step against our will. We apologize to the commuters for the inconvenience they are experiencing."
In the midst of these developments, Odisha's Transport Minister, Tukuni Sahu, commented, "The decision by the private bus owners' association is entirely unilateral. We have invited them for further discussions on October 26. It is important that the people do not suffer, and we urge the bus owners to cooperate with us."
The minister defended the LAccMI bus services, which are facing opposition from the bus owners, as a people-friendly initiative and affirmed that it will continue.