Pradeep Pattanayak

As if the private buses remaining off the road in Rayagada district owing to the ongoing state-wide strike launched by the Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association was not enough, the government buses are also not plying today as they have been engaged in the Chief Minister’s LAccMI bus service inauguration programme, leaving the passengers at their wit's end. 

With the talks between the bus owners and the Chief Minister's Office bearing no fruit yesterday, the Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association launched an indefinite strike today. 

Consequently, no private bus is seen plying on the road today. 

Since Durga Puja has already set in, people, basically the job holders, are falling on themselves to go to their native villages. With the private buses remaining off the road, they are having a harrowing time. At places, while they are seen opting for government buses to go to their destinations, at other places, they are hiring taxis, cabs, coughing up exorbitant fare. 

Also read: Buses go off roads across Odisha as private operators begin indefinite strike

In Rayagada, the picture is different. Here, people are facing the double whammy of getting private buses or government buses. As a result, many people are seen stranded at different locations. 

The government buses have been engaged in the Chief Minister’s LAccMI bus inauguration programme. 

Sources said a total of 12 buses ply on six routes in the district. Of them, while three are lying defunct, the rest nine buses have been engaged in the Chief Minister’s programme. 

The irked passengers are critical of the government. 

“I am waiting for a bus to go to my native place. While private buses are off the road, the government buses are also not running on their regular routes. I will wait for some time and if don’t get any facility, I will have go to my village on foot,” said an irked female passenger. 

Expressing his concern, another visibly upset passenger termed the non-availability of government buses as pathetic. 
When asked, government bus director of Rayagada district Sangram Keshari Jena said, “In Rayagada unit, buses ply on eight routes. For today’s LAccMI bus inauguration programme in Parlakhemndi, nine buses have been transferred to Gajapati district. We have information that people are suffering as  local trains have also been cancelled today.”

In this regard, vice president of Rayagada District Private Bus Owners’ Association Srinivas Rao said, “Every day, around 200 buses ply through Rayagada. We are in the strike against our wish. We had no option as the government is stick to its stand.”

Meanwhile, allegations against government buses showing preference to only online ticket holders are pouring in. 
“We have been waiting for government buses for two to three hours to go to our destinations. But, the drivers and conductors are saying that they would take only online ticket holders. There are many passengers who have not bought tickets online. What will they do?” rued a female passenger.

  • Reported by:
  • Maudi Barik