Buses go off roads in Tamil Nadu, commuters stranded
Commuters faced difficulty in various parts of Tamil Nadu today due to a state-wide indefinite strike called by some sections of transport unions to press for settlement of retirement benefits and other issues.
As majority of state transport buses remained off the roads in most parts of the state including this capital city since yesterday, the government said it was ready for talks and would take steps to clear the rush.
Passengers in Chennai, Tiruchirappally and Thanjavur among others complained that they had been stranded for hours after government transport employees did not ply buses, even as crowds thronged the few available private ones.
Some transport unions embarked on an indefinite strike from Sunday after talks on various issues including retirement benefits and certain pending dues with the government failed.
Transport Minister M R Vijayabaskar said 37 unions were in support of the government. Ten other unions, including those headed by DMK and Left, have participated in the strike.
"Efforts are on to operate the buses in full strength even as 2000 private vehicles will be operated in Chennai to clear the rush," he told reporters.
Police protection was being given to buses plying on the roads, he said, adding, the government was ready to hold talks to break the logjam if the unions came forward for discussions.
Government was also mulling deploying retired personnel and private drivers to operate buses, officials said.
Following the state government's request, Southern Railway has announced operating inter city services between Chennai and other destinations. It has also increased number of services on the various suburban routes in and around Chennai.