Mrunal Manmay Dash

There will be no bus strike in Odisha for now, said State Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu after a meeting with the bus owners' association in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Speaking to the reporters after the meeting, Sahu said, “LAccMI is a revolutionary scheme aimed at providing public transport at the doorsteps of rural people. We discussed the matter with the bus owners' association in today's meeting who put up their grievances in front of us. They will submit a written memorandum to the government by October 30 and hence there will be no bus strike.”

“We have introduced LAccMI service in interior areas where there is no bus service at all. The bus owners welcomed the decision. The bus owners did not oppose the scheme as a whole. They just wanted us to not introduce this scheme at places where there are private buses already plying. They have some other demands as well. We will try to fulfill those demands in due course of time through dialogue,” she added.

However, the bus owners’ association said the discussion is neither a success nor a failure. Speaking to the reporters, Association Secretary, Debendra Sahu said, “The strike has only been put on hold till October 31. It has not been called off. A general body meeting of the association will be held on October 30. We will discuss our future course of action there.”

“We have submitted a bus route chart to the government. We are waiting for the resolution of the government,” he added.

Notably, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated bus services under the Location Accessible Multimodal Initiative (LAccMI) on October 12. In the first phase, the scheme was launched in six districts– Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, and Gajapati.

The introduction of the LAccMI scheme did not go down well with the Bus owners in the State who called a state-wide strike on October 20 paralysing bus services in Odisha.

However, the private bus owners’ association put on hold the strike on the night of October 20 till October 31 after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu appealed for halting the strike and called them for a meeting on October 26.