Bhubaneswar:17/3/23; After a three-day long state wide quit steering agitation, the Odisha Driver Mahasangha has announced to put the ongoing strike on hold for three months inview of the public inconvenience and government assurance.
Informing the decision, Mahasangha president Prasant Menduli said there was a trust deficit over the assurance letter of the government. “Later, we discussed with some of our experts. They also reposed faith in the government and advised us to refrain from the strike. Moreover, we are also seriously concerned over the public inconvenience due to the massive agitation. In view of that, we have decided to put the stir on hold for the three months.”
“If the demands are not fulfilled within the stipulated time, we have no other options but to self immolate en masse in front of the Naveen Nivas,” he warned.
“We don’t want any politics in our strike. We need our legitimate demands be fulfilled. We will be happy,” Menduli added.
The Mahasangha president also tendered apology to the people of Odisha for the inconvenience. “I must tender my sincere apology to the people of Odisha who have cooperated with us despite every odd. Our only motive is to acquire our rights not to cause inconvenience,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the Mahasangha had demanded a formal announcement from the Chief Minister.
Due to the strike, the movement of essential commodities was hit. The government constituted a taskforce headed by chief secretary P K Jena to monitor to movement of vehicles carrying essential goods.
Yesterday, the chief secretary gave the Mahasangha the written assurance to resolve their issues within three months from March 16. He also appealed to the body to call off the strike, it said.
Prices of essential commodities like vegetables, fishes, eggs and other items skyrocketed as the trucks carrying them are standard in different parts of the state due to the drivers’ strike.
Meantime, activities in different bus stands and terminals are returning to normal after the agitating drivers vacated the roads, including national highways, and buses with passengers onboard left for Balasore, Baripada, Berhampore and other place from Barmunda bus terminal here on Friday, an official said.
The Odisha Private Bus Owners Association, which had threatened to go on strike from Friday morning demanding clearance of roads for smooth movement of passenger bus, called it off after most of the roads were cleared, he said. The Association opposed to the Drivers Ekta Mahasangha, which launched its ‘Quit Steering’ agitation on Wednesday.