As MSRTC employees continue to strike, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday, December 17, stated that the government will take extreme measures against the agitators if they fail to report to work at the earliest. Urging the staff of MSRTC to take a sensible approach, the Deputy CM said that the common man is facing hardships due to the strike.
Pawar told the media that the poor and the vulnerable are the most affected because of the strike. According to him, the poor who mostly depend on public transportation for movement are worst hit by the strike. Terming the strike as 'not right', Pawar said the employees are being adamant over the strike but must take a sensible approach about the same.
The agitators are refusing to budge, even though Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab has consistently been holding dialogue with them.
While Pawar stated that Parab has been "lenient" till now,t the government may not have more patience to tolerate it.
The Finance Minister said, "Nobody should test (the government's) patience. It is my earnest request to all the employees and workers. They should report to work and start working".
The senior NCP leader further questioned the protestors over the job security if they continue to strike and a new recruitment drive is undertaken. Pawar said, "Such a situation should not arise. I request the agitators to not impel the government to take extreme steps (against them)".
Several employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has been protesting since October 28, seeking a merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government. The strike intensified from November 9 hoping for better and on-time salaries and other benefits.
MSRTC with a fleet of more than 16,000 buses is considered one of the biggest state-owned transport undertakings in the country. In normal times, it ferries over 65 lakh passengers every day.
The strike has affected the movement of passengers, particularly students and rural people, as they now have to rely on private transporters who have hiked their fares.