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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Edition 27: What did the last months strike acheived?

The day started as ususal for many of the employess of Pune Mahangar Parivahan Mahamandal (PMPML), but as the day inched ahead, they were seen just counting the buses damaged in a political drama. When the number of damaged Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited buses reached to 22, the transport body stopped service on some routes. All in all, 105 buses were damaged of the public bopdy which supplies, however inadequately, a mean to travel to most of the city people. Incidentally, the glasses of a buse were broken just when Neelam Gorhe, spokesperson of Shiv Sena and party leader in Legislative Council, was talking to reporters and appealing for peaceful agitation.




In an unseen unity for decades, the opposition parties observed a strike on Monday. The move was taken to protest the hike in petrol prices and commodities. But it ended up in the thrashing and damaging of public properties, manily the city buses.

According to some conductors and drivers on Deccan stand, they were instructed to ply buses normally. But as day progressed, more and more buses were targeted. By 12 PM, 22 buses were damaged. Mainly, front glasses were thrashed

with stones. In case of stone pelting at Deccan bus stop, the culprit managed to run away from scene as police personnel deployed there were busy supervising the mob gathered around Gorhe.



Taking note of the situation, the PMPML bosses ordered the buses not to ply on some roads. These buses were taken to depots at Deccan, Swargate and Shivajinagar. Routes affected include Kothrud Stand, Kothrud Depot and Swargate, Sinhgad Road. When the fact was pointed out to Gorhe, that this a loss of the public property, she said, "I am aware that

the pubic property is being vandalised and ultimately common citizens are suffering. But how can you justify the government order which stipulated the government employees to remain present in their offices since yesterday. Was not this iconvenience to them? The government tried to suppress down the strike by police force but it failed in doing so.

Did not policemen suffer from the price hike? All over the city, the shops are closed and we are getting a good response. People have vehemently closed their businesses."



PMPML buses were the target of the miscreants during the day long strike. The incidents of stone pelting were reported from Sinhgad Road, Deccan, Vaibhav Talkie in Camp, Dhanori, Bhandarkar Road, Ganeshpeth, Natubaug, Gokhalenagar, Netajinagar, Dandekar Bridge, Bibwewadi, Chinchwas, Vanaz Corner, Dnyaneshwar Padukar Chowk among others. A bus was burned in Bhusari Colony at about 2 PM. At some place, the miscreants also deflated the tyres of the buses.



Even though the nationwide strike ended at the sunset on July 5, that did not mean any comfort for the hapless commuters. The traffic was diverted for the Sant Tukaram Palakhi procession resulting in the closing down of buses on many routes. he autorickshaws did not ply in as many number as normal days.Those which ran on the streets extracted a hefty sum taking advantage of helplessness of the citizens. Long queues of the commuters were seen on bus stops, outside Swargate

bus stand and on Karve road. Buses did not ply on Jangli Maharaj road, Fergusson road and Alka Talkies chowk from where the palakhi procession passed.



The constant trickle of rain added to woes of the commuters. People were almost panicked when the buses were not seen even after the period of strike ended officially. The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamanadal Limited is to take stock of the loss of property in. A bus was burned in Bhusari Colony, Kohtrud. The burnt bus belonged to a contractor. Various leaders from political parties, including Eknath Khadse, leader of opposition in Legislative Assembly, were arrested yesterday.

They were later let free. Police also took 645 persons in custody as a preventive measure. These were persons facing offences during previous calls of strikes. 1527 persons were served notices.



In a statement, Abhay Chhajed, city chief of Congress said, “BJP and Shiv Sena workers damaged the buses thereby causing inconvenience to the people of Pune. These were the same people who demanded more buses some days ago.

This shows their double standards.” The mudslining of politics will continue as before. However, the question remains as to what the strike managed to achieve, a question writ large on the faces of men seen in the above picture. These are

the labours waiting for the work so that they can eat in the evening. Do we have any answer to this question?

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