Drivers’ Agitation Put-off by 3 Months

Bhubaneswar: In a major breakthrough in the logjam over the indefinite strike by drivers, the State government in a meeting held in the presence of
office bearers and members of Driver Ekata Mahasangha, Odisha decided to resolve the demands of the Mahasangha within the next three months. The Speaker directed the government to hold talks with the drivers after opposition members expressed concern over the issue of drivers’ agitation in the Assembly today. The meeting held in the conference hall of the Lok Seva Bhawan today evening was chaired by Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena. “It was decided in the meeting to resolve the demands of the Driver Ekata Mahasangha within the next three months,” said a letter issued by the Chief Secretary to the Convener of Driver Ekata Mahasangha, Odisha, Athamallik, Angul. Earlier in the day, following a ruckus in the Odisha Assembly over the ongoing indefinite strike by drivers, the Speaker gave a ruling asking Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu to hold a discussion with agitating drivers and make a statement in the House on Friday. Public and commercial transport drivers in the state under the banner of Driver Ekata Manch, from Wednesday, launched an indefinite strike over their 10 point charter of demands. The strike on its second day today had paralysed public and commercial transportation in the state. The agitating drivers have been demanding pension after 60 years, death benefits, life insurance, social security, parking and toilet facility. It is worth noting that the drivers have already staged a huge demonstration in the capital city of Bhubaneswar and jammed it, but now they have started the movement again. On the other hand, a question has been raised as to why the government did not initiate the process in this regard by asking them to take necessary steps on their demands by December 15th, 2022. A highlevel meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary on 29 October 2022 to initiate the process for identification of working drivers, welfare schemes for them etc.

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