Massive Transport Strike in Bengaluru – Government Agrees to Some Shocking Demands!

On September 11, a strike by private transportation operations in Bengaluru caused temporary school closures and disruptions to the city’s mobility.

Several associations, representing bus, auto, and taxi drivers, among others, had previously met with the State Transport Minister, Ramalinga Reddy, but proceeded with the strike when their demands were not met. On Monday, Reddy addressed the protestors, indicating that most of their demands would be met. He stated, “The request by transport operators to establish a development authority will be granted. They also wish to set up an Indira canteen at the airport, and I have already instructed the BBMP to expedite the process…”

These demands will be referred to the transport commissioner tomorrow.”

Protestors from 32 private transport unions staged a march from Bengaluru’s Majestic area to Freedom Park. There were some reports of stone-pelting in connection with the strike. This federation includes unions representing bus, auto, and taxi drivers, among others. Here are some of their demands and the government’s earlier responses:

Autorickshaw Drivers and Owners’ Associations:

Demand: Auto-rickshaw drivers in Karnataka requested a monthly grant of Rs 10,000.

Government Response (GR): According to transport department data, there are 3,64,192 auto-rickshaw drivers, and providing them with Rs 10,000 monthly would require Rs 4,370 crore, which the government did not agree to after the strike.

Demand: Establishment of a corporation for unorganized commercial drivers and a transport development corporation.

Discussions have taken place with the chief minister and Karnataka congress state president regarding the establishment of these corporations.

Demand: Launch a new cab aggregator app, similar to Ola and Uber, from the government’s end.

GR: Multiple meetings have been conducted with e-governance officials, and a technical report has been requested.

Demand: Open the government’s subsidized Indira canteen near Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport to provide lower-cost food for cab drivers.

GR: Approximately 4,000 to 5,000 cab drivers frequent the airport, and the BBMP chief commissioner has been instructed to implement this suggestion.

Taxi Owners and Drivers Association:

Demand: Implement the nine percent lifetime tax imposed on vehicles worth Rs 10-15 lakh on vehicles worth Rs 15-20 lakh.

GR: The government has declined this demand following the strike.

Demand: Provide subsidies to drivers for purchasing new cars.

GR: There are existing schemes from companies that offer subsidies for buying new cars. If specific suggestions are made, the government has expressed willingness to consider them.

Demand: Provide student scholarships for drivers’ children.

GR: The Vidya Nidhi scheme, initiated on November 8, 2022, provides funds for the children of yellow board drivers once they pass Class 10. As of March 30, 2023, Rs 4.07 crore has been transferred to 6,991 accounts. For the year 2023-24, Rs 17 crore has been allocated to the scheme.

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