Bus operators protest arrest of Athamallik bus owner, call for strike on Sep 29

Cuttack: Private buses across the State will stay off the roads for 24 hours- from 6 am Septemebr 29 to 6 am September 30. As a mark protest against the ‘illegal’ arrest of Rishabh Tripathy, owner of the ill-fated ‘Maharaja’ bus of Athamallik, bus owners and staff will work wearing black badges from tomorrow.

The association has set October 6 as the deadline before government to withdraw the case against Tripathy failing which the bus operators will resort to indefinite strike from October 7, association president Prakash Mishra said.

Tripathy, owner of Maharaja bus that fell off a bridge near Puruna Manitri killing 19 passengers and injuring over 30 on September 9, was arrested by Angul police on Friday. He was later sent to judicial custody after his bail plea was rejected.

On September 11, police had arrested driver of the bus Birendra Behera on charges of reckless driving. Behera during interrogation, however, had claimed that the mishap took place due to failure of the steering.