Hundreds of commuters were left stranded at the Panaji bus stand for nearly six hours on Saturday afternoon after a sudden strike was called by private bus owners’ union demanding arrest of drivers of Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) for allegedly manhandling private bus operators over the issue of timing and permit.
The private bus operators stopped plying their buses to different parts of the state from the Panaji bus stand protesting against the alleged assault on drivers and conductors of private buses by a group of Kadamba bus drivers and conductors.
The altercation occurred because a KTC bus driver did not allow a private bus driver on the Ponda route to overtake. This rivalry between private and KTC bus operators has been continuing since long over the issue of timing.
Chairman of KTCL Carlos Almeida also reached at the bus stand and urged the private bus owners’ union not to go on strike and agreed to initiate talks with bus operators and take suitable action to end the rivalry.
According to police, earlier on Saturday, an incident occurred at the Panaji bus stand at 11 am wherein a group of KTC bus drivers and conductors blocked a Ponda route private bus and had a heated argument with the driver. In the meanwhile, one of the passengers who was a police constable alighted from the bus and started video recording the incident. However, he was also allegedly assaulted by the group of KTC bus drivers and conductors.
Later, at 4 pm, the private bus owners marched to the Panaji police station and staged a protest outside the police station demanding action against the KTC bus crew members. Police registered an offence against 20 KTC bus crew members for forming an unlawful assembly and wrongfully restraining a private bus driver and conductor and kept the matter under investigation.
A KTC official claimed that the sudden strike came in the backdrop of an incident wherein a bus operator on the Ponda route was declined permission to park his bus at the Panaji bus stand, as his contract carriage permit had expired.
According to the KTC official, a private bus operator plying on the Panaji-Ponda route had on Thursday blocked a KTC bus at Old Goa for overtaking him. When the Kadamba bus driver finally overtook the private bus, the driver of the private bus had a heated argument with the KTC driver. Later, the Kadamba driver reported the incident to his senior and as the private bus reached the bus stand in Panaji, the driver was asked about the contract carriage permit, which had expired. However, the driver refused to provide the permit as a result of which he was asked not to use parking bay at the bus stand without a valid permit.
Source:: The Navhind Times