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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha Bus Owners' Association on Saturday threatened to go on strike from July 1 if their demands are not met by the State government by June 30.

Addressing a press conference, Debendra Sahu, General Secretary of Odisha Bus Owners' Association said, "Our primary demand before the government was to allow us to transfer our permits to third party as and when required. The government had promised us to resolve the hurdle but it has been six months since its assurance, we are still empty-handed."

Their second demand was to allow them to run the sleeper coaches in day time.

"The Transport department issued a 'body code' and wanted us to build the body of the sleeper coaches as per their specifications. We did as per the direction and ensured the rules are followed. If the transport department and the transport commissioner approved the design, then where is the problem in running the sleeper coaches in day time," Sahu asked.

The third demand was to provide bus bays along the highways across the state so that the busses can pick up and drop passengers easily without obstructing traffic on the roads.

Another important demand was to repair the National Highway along the Manguli and Sambalpur route. "The broken road on that stretch has been a nightmare for vehicles since four years. Last year, the government assured us to complete the repair works in six months, but it is yet to be completed," he complained.

"We had observed a bandh last year over the same issue of non completion of road works on the Manguli-Sambalpur stretch. Nothing has materialised yet. I think we will have to launch a strike again," he said.

Pertinent to mention here that the Odisha government had slashed the bus fare in different categories under the automatic fare adjustment mechanism on May 26 after the Centre reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel prices in the country.

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