Intensifying its protest against the launch of location accessible multimodal initiative (LAccMI) bus service and ‘Mo Bus’ in the state, the All Odisha Bus Owners’ Association staged a massive demonstration in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
The government launched the LAccMI bus service in some districts of southern Odisha in October. This had enraged the private bus owners association, which strongly opposed it. At the time of Dussehra, the private bus owners had even resorted to strike, but later called off it following assurance from the transport minister.
Now, the All Odisha Bus Owners’ Association has come in support of the private bus owners’ body and staged a sit-in at the PMG Square here today.
This protest has come ahead of the launching of 40 buses under the scheme in Rayagada on November 25.
Shouting slogans against the state government, the agitating bus owners demanded immediate halt of the bus service under LAccMI. Private bus owners have long been alleging that due to such bus service of the state government, they have to suffer a lot in terms of business.
Speaking to the media, Barada Acharya of the All Odisha Bus Owners’ Association, said, “In fact, the government forced us to stage protests. The government has fixed the bus fares at Rs 86 and Rs 76 per km for a bus owner under the LAccMI scheme. We demand the government should allow us to take bus fares fixed for private bus owners under LAccMI. We will run buses at those rates.”
“The bus owner operating under LAccMI is from Gujarat and has signed an agreement with the Odisha government to run buses at the rate of fares mentioned above. We were deprived of this service and the right fares,” he added.