INDIA: Political leaders cutting across party lines have urged the State government to convene talks with transport unions to find an amicable solution to their ongoing strike.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss, DMDK president Vijayakant, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol. Thirumavalavan and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi president M.H. Jawahirullah on Monday called for further negotiations to break the deadlock.
In a statement, Dr. Ramadoss pointed out that State Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar’s assurance that buses will ply as usual with the help of members of the Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai and contract workers did not hold true. “In most parts of the State, roads were deserted. Tourists and working professionals were stranded on the streets. Only a small number of buses was operated from the Koyambedu Bus Terminus in Chennai, as a result of which thousands of commuters were adversely affected,” he said.
The government’s attitude did not change even after the union members stopped working, he rued.
“Instead of talking to the unions and bringing the strike to an end, the officials tried to intimidate and threaten the unions. Despite the unions climbing down on their demands, the government hasn’t budged. It must take full responsibility,” Dr. Ramadoss said.
Blaming the government’s “lethargic attitude” for the strike, DMDK chief Vijayakant said, “The government has neither paid the ₹4,500 crore that the transport workers are owed, nor the arrears of ₹1,700 crore. The only reason why the Transport department is in such a shoddy state is the corruption and mismanagement [by the State government].”
VCK chief Thol. Thirumavalavan pleaded that the strike shouldn’t be allowed to go on.
The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee and the Tamil Maanila Congress also pinned the blame on the State government.
TMC president G.K. Vasan called on CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami to intervene, while TNCC president Su. Thirunavukkarasar accused the State government of not acceding to the legitimate demands of transport workers and lacking vision.