Published On : Mon, Sep 4th, 2017

2-day ‘torture’ of commuters ends as drivers, conductors of Aapli Bus call off strike

Aapli Bus

Nagpur: The two-day “torture” of commuters seems to have ended as the striking drivers and conductors of Aapli Bus have decided to resume their duties and commence bus service in city. The relief came after a high-level meeting, attended by Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi, Transport Committee Chairman Jitendra (Bunty) Kukde, police official of Sitabuldi Police Station, NMC’s Transport Manager Shivaji Jagtap, Assistant Engineer (Transport) Kedar Mishra, Administrative Officer (Transport) Patre and Kamgar Sena leader Bandu Talwekar, was held on Monday and hammered out a solution leading to end of Aapli Bus strike.

It may be recalled that city buses remained off the roads for the second consecutive day on Sunday and major part of Monday, as drivers and conductors continued their strike demanding action against police constable Gopal Shinde for assaulting conductor Ashok Walurkar. Facing allegations of molesting Shinde’s wife, Walurkar got bail and was released on Sunday afternoon. No action has been taken against Shinde despite an assurance given by Deputy Commissioner of Police Rakesh Ola after the incident.

As the commuters faced horrible time due to the Aapli Bus strike, the high-level meeting was held on Monday. In the meeting, the Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi, on the demand of Kamgar Sena, a wing of Shiv Sena, directed the Transport Manager Jagtap to transfer the errant employee of DIMTS to Khapri Depot. Following the development, the delegation of Kamgar Sena, led by former Shiv Sena Corporator Bandu Talwekar, agreed to end the strike. Talwekar and Transport Committee Chairman Bunty Kukde reached the venue where drivers and conductors were agitating and asked them to resume duties as one of their main demands has been fulfilled. It was also agreed that the bus service would not held to ransom in future in the event of any unsavoury incident.

Earlier, total 312 city buses remained off the roads on Sunday and Monday afternoon after the alleged molestation incident on Saturday. The strike also took an ugly turn when conductor Sachin Andurskar and his group ransacked the office of one of the city bus operators at around 2.15 pm at Khapri. Following a complaint from the bus operator, Sonegaon police registered an offence against Andurskar and others.

Chairman of City Transport Committee Bunty Kukde informed that the process to initiate action against IBTM operator Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS) and 16 drivers and conductors has been started. “DIMTS miserably failed to control its conductors and resume services. A team of 16 drivers and conductors have been identified as being responsible for the strike. This group did not allow others to operate buses when some drivers and conductors wished to operate buses on Sunday,” he said.

Kukde added new conductors will be roped into service if required for resuming city buses operations on Monday. “Drivers and conductors are engaged in blackmail. The dispute is between conductors and police department. NMC has nothing to do with the incident. But conductors started to raise other demands, like transfer of Yogesh Navghare who assigns conductors. Necessary measures are required for preventing such strikes in future. We have also written a letter to the police department seeking help in resuming services. But the police did not respond,” he said.

Total 312 city buses remained off the roads on Sunday after the alleged molestation incident on Saturday afternoon. The chances of city bus operations resuming on Monday seem bleak.

The strike also took an ugly turn when conductor Sachin Andurskar and his group ransacked the office of one of the city bus operators at around 2.15pm at Khapri. Following a complaint from the bus operator, Sonegaon police registered an offence against Andurskar and others.

Shiv Sena leader Suresh Talwekar said the strike continued only due to the mistake of DIMTS. “Navghare reached the spot along with another conductor when Walurkar told him the incident on Saturday. Instead of saving Walurkar, Navghare engaged another conductor and released the bus. Similarly, we all wanted to submit a memorandum to DIMTS in charge CP Tiwari and inform him about the incident. But Tiwari did not turn up throughout the day. Demonstration will be organized at RBI Square on Monday. DIMTS is responsible for the loss to passengers, especially students,” he said. Talwekar added that DCP Ola did not take any action against the constable despite an assurance, so that also one of the reasons for the continuation of strike.