Pune: The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) services, which came to a standstill due to the strike called by its workers’ union for the past four days during Diwali, finally resumed on Saturday morning.
Earlier, the workers’ body decided to withdraw the strike on its fifth day. However, the Pune division of MSRTC suffered revenue loss amounting to Rs 4 crore. Rs 34 lakh was refunded to passengers who had booked their tickets online and from counters at Swargate, Shivajinagar and Vallabhnagar, Pimpri.
The union decided to withdraw the strike after a Bombay High Court bench termed it ‘illegal’. The High Court directed the State government to formulate a high-level committee to resolve grievances of the MSRTC employees.
According to MSRTC officials, the department has set up windows at three bus stands for ticket cancellation. “The strike, which started from Monday midnight, continued till Friday night.
There were huge cancellations of tickets at the three centres. Lakhs of passengers cancelled their tickets online and at counters. We have refunded Rs 34 lakh during these days,” said Srinivas Joshi, Divisional Controller, Pune.
“We were to run 2,658 buses from the College of Engineering grounds, Pune, Swargate, Shivajinagar and Pimpri-Chinchwad station during these days. The extra buses were sent back to their depots, as they were not plying. The services have resumed. The returning of passengers will start from Sunday,” he said.
Drivers, conductors and other staffers of MSRTC had launched the indefinite strike from October 17 for their demands pertaining to pay hike. A joint action committee (JAC) comprising over a dozen unions representing the MSRTC workers across the State had held several meetings with the State government, including State Transport Minister Diwakar Raote and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, which could not lead to a solution.
Buses start plying from three depots
†Soon after the strike was withdrawn, buses started plying from all three bus depots in the city, namely Shivajinagar, Pune Station and Swargate. The number of buses operating as well as passengers reaching the bus stands was much less than the average festive day. Officials said buses belonging to other depots, which form a large chunk of service operations, were missing on Saturday as they didn’t reach the night before due to the stir. They said the buses, which depart from Pune half-filled, will take passengers on their way.