Private Buses in Odisha go off road as talks with government fail

Private buses in Odisha have begun strike starting today following the breakdown of talks between AOPBOA and the State government.

Bhubaneswar: In a significant development, private buses in Odisha have gone off the road starting today following the breakdown of talks between the All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBOA) and the State government.

The AOPBOA had convened a meeting with the State government yesterday to address their concerns regarding recent initiatives. During the negotiations, AOPBOA demanded a written assurance from the government to meet their demands. However, as their request went unanswered, the association has proceeded with its earlier announcement of an indefinite bus strike.

Debendra Sahu, Secretary of the AOPBOA, expressed regret over the situation, saying, “Despite our unwillingness, we are forced to go on strike; our intention is not to cause inconvenience to commuters during Durga Puja. We extend our apologies to commuters.”

The private bus owners have been protesting the introduction of the Location Accessible Multimodal Initiative (LAccMI) scheme and Mo Bus services in rural areas by the State government, alleging that these initiatives have adversely affected their livelihoods.

The next meeting between the AOPBOA and the State government is scheduled for October 26, where discussions will focus on the modalities of operation for Mo Bus and buses under the LAccMI scheme.

Also Read: Odisha Transport Minister Appeals Owners To Call Off Bus Strike

Odisha’s Transport Minister, Tukuni Sahu, made an appeal to the AOPBOA, urging them to reconsider the indefinite bus strike scheduled to begin today. Sahu emphasized that strikes are not a solution but that discussion is crucial. She further stated, “People should not suffer during this festive season. LAccMI is a people-friendly scheme and will continue.”

However, it’s worth noting that the Balasore district private bus owners’ association president announced that buses in the State will continue to operate. He remarked, “We are not against the strike, but this is not the right time. Declaring a strike today evening is not right.”

The private bus owners’ grievances stem from their claims that the introduction of the LAccMI scheme and Mo Bus services has adversely impacted their livelihoods.

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