Cassian Baliarsingh

Boycotting the new punishment rule for drivers under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Odisha Motor Transportation Workers’ Federation has called for an indefinite strike from today.  As part of the strike, the workers will also refrain from loading petrol and diesel from oil depots which is likely to lead to fuel scarcity in the state.

Odisha is most likely to face a severe fuel crisis as the supply will be severely affected because of the strike. On the other hand, the associations of bus and truck owners have strongly opposed the strike and will not support the bandh.

However, movements of both buses and trucks will remain normal as both the Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association and Truck Owners’ Association have decided not to extend support to the bandh.

“10 years jail and 7 lakh fine law is a ‘black and draconian law’. We will continue our protest until the law is struck off. They claim to have not implemented the law yet, then why are they not striking it off,” informed General Secretary, Odisha Motor Transportation Workers’ Federation, Raj Kumar Lenka.

“They also tried to cheat farmers and struck off the farms' law only after the death of hundreds of farmers. So, we want it to be struck down immediately,” he added.

Speaking to OTV, Barada Acharya, Treasurer of Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association said, “The reason for which the strike is called is complete nonsense because the law against which they are protesting is yet to be implemented. So, we Bus Owners’ Association condemn the strike and we will not participate in the protest. We will continue to run our buses and ensure passengers’ safe journey to their destinations.”

“I also request the administration to provide safety and security in cases of violence,” he added.

Rabi Satapathy, General Secretary of Odisha Truck Owners’ Association said, “We have no connection with the strike. We will not support the protest and there is nothing to panic. We will continue to transport goods as usual.”

Meanwhile, passengers experienced harrowing times being stranded at bus stands and expressed disappointment over the protest.

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