Cassian Baliarsingh

The Odisha Congress on Monday announced its support for the indefinite state-wide strike called by the Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association from October 10 in protest against the State government’s Location Accessible Multimodal Initiative (LAccMI) scheme.

Announcing the decision, Odisha Pradesh Congress Chief Sarat Pattanayak came down heavily on the Chief Minister and questioned the launching of the scheme by the state government.

“Every time the election approaches, CM Naveen Patnaik has this habit of announcing various schemes for the people of Odisha. This is nothing new,” said Pattanayak.

“But, the CM genuinely doesn’t care for the people of Odisha. Not only the Bus Owners’ Association, but there are also Sarpanchs, teachers, GRS, Anganwadi workers, and several others who are currently protesting in the state. This means the government has put everyone in some or the other problem,” he added.

“Even after ruling Odisha for 24 years, they have zero planning. So, we are in support of the bandh called by the Bus Owners’ Association. The government should have verified the data of other states and held a discussion with the Bus Owners’ Association before taking any step,” he concluded.

The Private Bus Owners’ Association has decided to launch their statewide bandh from tomorrow. As per the decision, all private buses will remain off the roads from October 10 including vehicles engaged in schools, colleges, and tourism.

Currently, a meeting is underway between the private bus owners' association and the CMO at the Chief Minister's Grievance Cell in Bhubaneswar.

Worth mentioning, the Odisha government has launched the LAccMI scheme to run buses from panchayats to blocks, blocks to district headquarters, and from the districts to the state capital. The first phase of operation started on October 2 on Gandhi Jayanti in the undivided Koraput district.

However, the bus owners have alleged that the LAccMI scheme will affect the income of over 8,000 private bus owners and 14,000 employees and their families.

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