Karnataka govt holds striking RTC employees responsible for driver Rabeed Rasool’s murder

coastaldigest.com news network
April 17, 2021

Bengaluru, Apr 17: Even as the tussle between the Karnataka government and striking workers of the state road transport corporations (RTC) led to the death of a driver who had reported to work, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi held the agitators responsible for the unfortunate incident. 

Rabeed Rasool Avati, a driver working with the North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) succumbed to his injuries after stones were pelted at the bus he was driving on Friday. 

Mr. Avati, 56, was taking the bus on the Vijayapura-Jamkhandi route when unidentified persons pelted stones at the windshield. The broken pieces of glass caused a gash on the driver’s neck. Mr. Avati, who was bleeding heavily, was immediately rushed to Jamkhandi Taluk Hospital, but could not be saved.

"The striking workers said it will be a peaceful protest but have claimed the life of their colleague now. The government will not forgive this. Those on strike are not allowing workers to return to duty and think they can deter the loyal workers through criminal acts," Mr Savadi said in a statement.

The DyCM announced a compensation of R 30 lakh and a job on compassionate grounds to a family member of the deceased. Soon after the announcement, NWKRTC managing director Krishna Bajpai visited the family of the deceased and handed over a cheque for Rs 30 lakh.

The KSRTC State Road Transport Corporation Employee League, the organisation observing the indefinite strike, also condemned the incident. “Our organisation is in no way linked to the incident. We have been asking employees not to resort to any kind of violence,” said R. Chandrashekar, president of the league.

Though the office-bearers of the league have been reiterating that the indefinite strike will continue till the State government meets their demands, the number of employees reporting back to duty has also been gradually increasing by the day.

On Friday, which was the tenth day of the strike, RTCs managed to run more than 5,500 buses, of which Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation operated more than 2,500. On Thursday, the corporations operated over 4,000 buses.

On the other hand, the number of incidents of stone pelting on moving buses also increased. Till Friday, 80 buses had been damaged by miscreants. Officials claimed that because of the ongoing strike, RTCs had suffered a revenue loss of Rs 187 crore so far.

On RTCs operating more buses daily, Mr. Chandrashekar said, “The corporations are giving distorted figures. Officials are resorting to various tactics and pressuring the bus crew to report to work. No one is voluntarily reporting back to duty.”

Sacking spree

The four RTCs on Friday sacked 254 employees, taking the total number of such workers to 1,054. In addition, 489 employees remain suspended from service.

The murder of employee is expected to bring more edge to the government's stern action starting Saturday, when the polling in the byelections are set to be completed.

Meanwhile, more employees reported to duty on Friday, helping the four RTCs to run more buses instead of depending on private players. By 9 pm, 5,639 buses were operated from the four corporations.

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 21,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 21: In a major relief for bus commuters across Karnataka, transport employees called off their 15-day strike today.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League took the crucial decision a day after the Karnataka High Court observed that the workers of the state road transport corporations (RTCs) had chosen the "worst time to go on a strike" citing the pandemic.

Kodihalli Chandrashekar, the president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, who was leading the strike, said: "We have decided to withdraw the strike due to the court order".

However, he said they will go on a strike again if their demands are not met.

The Karnataka high court on Tuesday said that even if transport employees’ demands were legitimate, this is, possibly, the worst time to go on strike since the entire state is in the grip of Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials said full-fledged operations will commence from Thursday.

Till 5pm on Wednesday, four STUs operated 12,692 buses including KSRTC (4808), BMTC (2808) and NEKRTC (2134) and NWKRTC (2942)

The employees have been on strike since April 7, seeking revision of salaries on par with Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

The state government has said it cannot implement the pay revision now because of its financial position and urged the employees to return to work at the earliest.

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News Network
April 27,2021

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The two-week long ‘close down’ imposed by the government of Karnataka to control the second wave of covid-19 is set to commence tonight (from April 27 night till May 12). 

What is open and what is not?

During 14-day close down, shops selling essential commodities and other essential shops will be allowed to remain open only from 6 am to 10 am. Hospitals and pharmacies will be open. Liquor shops, restaurants and hotels can stay open but only for takeaway.

The agriculture and horticulture sector, manufacturing sector, construction sector and medical and essential sectors will continue to operate. But no permission has been granted to garments factories as the workers are in close proximity in these facilities.

Who can step out?

Essential workers, healthcare workers, and food delivery workers can carry out their work during the lockdown. Those involved in agriculture, construction and garment sectors can step out as well.

The Chief Minister has said that essential services like banking among others would continue to operate. “It has been decided to postpone all elections for six months,” he added.

Will buses and public transport ply?

No. Public transport including buses and metro will not ply during the 2-week lockdown. “When people aren’t allowed to step out, why will buses ply?,” Yediyurappa said while announcing the lockdown. But there are no restrictions on the movement of goods and essential services.

Can I order food?

Yes, food delivery executives are exempted from the lockdown and are permitted to pick up and deliver food during the next 14 days. 

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News Network
May 3,2021

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Kollam, May 3: Kerala Congress (B) chairman and former minister R Balakrishna Pillai passed away at a private hospital in his hometown Kottarakkara on Monday morning due to age-related ailments, his family said.

He was 86.

Born in a wealthy family in Kottarakkara, Pillai entered politics during his student days. He was a member of the Students Federation before joining the Congress.

He was a member of the AICC from 1958 to 1964.

Having been elected to the Assembly in 1960 from the Pathanapuram seat at the age of 25, Pillai quit the Congress in 1964 and formed the Kerala Congress along with senior leader K M George.

Pillai was the founder general secretary of the Kerala Congress.
He won the election from his home constituency Kottarakara in 1965, but was defeated in the next two polls in 1967 and 1970.

Pillai was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971 from the Mavelikara constituency.

He was a minister for several years in various ministries headed by C Achutha Menon, K Karunakaran, E K Nayanar and A K Antony.

Pillai's over six-decade-long political career saw many ups and downs.

He had to resign from the ministry for his speech in the 1980s in which he had called for an agitation on the lines of the militancy in Punjab against the central government for ignoring Kerala's development needs.

He was the first minister in Kerala who was sentenced to jail for corruption.

The Supreme Court had in February 2011 sentenced Pillai and two others to one-year imprisonment for allegedly abusing their positions in the award of a contract for the Idamalayar hydroelectric power project during his tenure as power minister from 1982-1985 in the K Karunakaran ministry.

From 2017 onwards, he had been serving as the chairman of the Kerala State Welfare Corporation for Forward Communities, with cabinet rank.

Pillai is survived by his three children.

His son Ganesh Kumar, who is also a former minister, was re-elected to the Kerala Assembly as an LDF candidate from his family bastion Pathanapuram.

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