HRTC staff intensify stir, minister warns of action

Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 24

The agitation of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) employees, which sparked off suddenly in Shimla on Friday afternoon, spread to different parts of the state today. The protesters claimed that HRTC buses of several depots in the state did not ply at all on Saturday and the services would not resume until the transfer order of Shimla Regional Manager DS Negi was revoked and their pending dues were released.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Bikram Singh has taken a hard stand on the protest by the HRTC employees. "The transfer of officials is the government's prerogative and it can't be done, as per the wishes of drivers and conductors. A disciplinary action will be taken against the protesting employees," he said.

HRTC Executive Director Ghanshyam Chand sounded optimistic about resolving the issue. "We have already had a few rounds of talks and soon a solution to the problem will be found. The protesters have agreed for talks with the Transport Minister," he said.

The agitation started Friday afternoon following the transfer of the HRTC Regional Manager from Shimla to Nerwa. The HRTC employees, however, believe pressure and influence exerted by the private bus operators was the reason for Negi's transfer. The private bus operators have been at loggerheads with Negi and HRTC employees over the timetable of the buses for the past few days.

"It's sad that how the HRTC authorities have bowed to the pressure of the private bus operators and transferred an official, who had always stood up for the interests of the HRTC," said Khemender Gupta, general secretary of the Sarv Karamchari Union.

CPM legislator Rakesh Singha said officials should not be transferred to benefit the private sector.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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