In a huge victory for Himachal Pradesh Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) administration agreed to majority of the demands raised by the party. CPI(M) leaders and activists had been sitting on dharna inside the HRTC office for 24 hours, before the corporation agreed to meet their demands.
The activists and leaders of the party started the dharna at 12 PM on Tuesday, July 30, the office of Managing Director of HRTC, demanding the betterment of bus services in the state. On the evening of Tuesday, the transport secretary of the state came to meet the protesters and talked to them regarding the issues that had been raised.
The demands raised by the CPI(M) included immediate recruitment of drivers and conductors, continuation of use of HRTC buses as transportation medium for schools and colleges, increase in frequency of buses, complete use of the HRTC bus fleet, and more. On Wednesday, the HRTC administration assured the protesters that all these demands would be met, following which they ended their demonstration.
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On July 30, members of CPI(M) started the agitation against the dying bus service in the state outside the MD’s office. However, upon enquiry, it was found that HRTC does not have a managing director, because the person who was previously holding the post had been transferred and no one has been recruited for the position yet. This shows the government’s apathetic attitude towards revival of the bus service in the state.
This situation angered the protesters further, and they said that they would continue their agitation unless an appropriate authority assures them that their demands would be met. CPI(M) leader and MLA from Theog, Rakesh Singha and former mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan were also present at the protest. The protesters spent the night in the HRTC office.
Himachal CPI(M) has said that the recent bus accidents in the state have shown that the BJP state government is incapable of ensuring the safety of the residents. They have also accused the government of neglecting the real reasons behind these accidents.
CPI(M) had previously organised a huge statewide protest demonstration against the poor bus service on July 11, following which the transport minister had been forced to accept that there is a shortage of employees in HRTC.
Also read: Over 11,000 People Have Died in Road Accidents in Himachal in Past 10 Years