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Private buses' strike called off

Private buses strike called off

Kochi: Private bus operators in the State who began an indefinite strike Sunday midnight called off their agitation Monday morning after talks with union Minister K.V. Thomas, officials said.

The government will have a discussion with the bus operators Wednesday.

The indefinite strike was called to protest the Motor Vehicles Department's directive for installing speed governors on all heavy vehicles.

State Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed, however, told reporters in Delhi that he has conveyed to Thomas that the state government would not roll back the law.

"The law cannot be breached but we will certainly be considerate to their genuine grievances. I will meet them Wednesday. We have given them (bus operators) no assurance at all," Mohammed said.

Commuters across Kerala are heavily dependent on private bus services as the state-owned transport corporation has just 5,803 buses while the non-government sector operates 46,620 vehicles.

Even though many buses remained off the roads Monday, at some places buses did operate as public sentiment was against the bus operators because of the numerous accidents caused by private buses.

Since a bus accident in Malappuram district claimed 13 lives Friday, authorities launched an extensive checking of these transport vehicles and cancelled certificates of more than 300 buses.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said after the accident that the only way to rein in the private operators was to see that the law is enforced, come what may.

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