Amidst strike by truck-bus drivers, CM Sai says law and order is responsibility of Collectors and SPs

Amidst a strike by bus and truck drivers protesting against the new Hit and Run Law, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnudeo Sai stated on Tuesday that Collectors and SPs would be held responsible if a law and order situation arose in their respective districts. The strike of bus-truck drivers in Chhattisgarh is affecting the supply of petrol, diesel, and vegetables. Due to the non-availability of petrol, a chaotic situation erupted between a pump employee and a youth in Bilaspur. On the other hand, CM Sai, along with all the IGs, Collectors, and SPs, held a meeting through video conferencing regarding the strike.

There is a crowd of people at petrol pumps in Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Raigarh, and Jagdalpur. Forty percent of petrol pumps in Surguja district and some in Raipur, Bilaspur, and Kondagaon have run dry. Drivers of some school buses in Raipur, Surguja, and Bilaspur are also on strike. The supply of vegetables has stopped, resulting in increased prices.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sai has given instructions to maintain a smooth supply of essential commodities. He emphasized that there should be no shortage of essential items and that the law and order situation in the district should remain under control. Collectors and SPs will be directly responsible for this.

During the meeting, CM Sai emphasized that officials should ensure that no misleading information is spread and that correct information is provided to the public. He also stressed that action should be taken against those spreading rumors.

Long queues have formed at many petrol pumps in Raipur since morning, with some pumps running dry.

T. Srinivas Reddy, President of Dumatarai Wholesale Vegetable Market in Raipur, mentioned that up to 75 percent of vegetable supplies have come to a standstill. Trucks carrying vegetables from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bengal, and Gujarat have not arrived. Normally, 120 to 130 trucks arrive in Raipur’s markets, but only 30 arrived on Monday. As a result, retail vegetable prices have increased by Rs 10 to 20.

Orders have been issued to continue fuel supply. Trucks remained parked at the petrol and LPG depot of Mandir Hasaud throughout Monday, leading to a petrol shortage in Raipur and nearby cities. In response, Director of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Jitendra Shukla, issued an order stating these services are essential, and action should be taken to prevent disruptions.

The arrival of vegetables in Raipur has reduced due to the drivers’ strike, with only a few local trains arriving on Tuesday.

A dispute over filling petrol at the pump in Sirgitti, Bilaspur, led to a fierce fight between employees and a youth.

Passengers continued to face problems due to the unavailability of buses at the bus stand in Ambikapur. Taxi operations are also closed there.

Even in Kondagaon, drivers are protesting from Narayanpur Mod to Jai Stambh Chowk bus stand, leading to the closure of almost all petrol pumps in the city.

There are long queues at petrol pumps in Raipur, causing significant delays. Passengers arriving at the Inter State Bus Terminal are returning disappointed as local and other state buses remain closed. Drivers intend to continue the agitation until January 3.

Private school bus drivers and management mentioned they have only one or two days of petrol left. If petrol remains unavailable, school bus operations will halt.

The Bilaspur district administration held a meeting with local truck-bus association officials on Monday, advising drivers not to strike and asking owners to prevent unnecessary truck parking at toll plazas. An FIR will be filed for blocking the national highway.

Passenger bus operations ceased at the interstate bus terminal in Raipur due to the strike, causing inconvenience to passengers.

Long queues formed at petrol pumps in Durg and Bhilai throughout the day, with people waiting for one to two hours to get petrol. Due to diesel shortages in pumps, buses and taxis are stranded in large numbers.

The closure of buses and vans of major schools in Ambikapur was announced for two days in protest against the new law. School bus and van operations will remain closed on Wednesday, with 40 percent of petrol pumps in the district running dry.

More than 100 night passenger buses from Ambikapur to various places did not operate, causing trouble for passengers. Similarly, an equal number of incoming buses to Ambikapur did not arrive.

School buses are operational in Jagdalpur. Petrol and diesel are being provided adequately to ambulances, school buses, and municipal vehicles at pumps where they’re available, while other vehicles receive limited amounts.

Jasbir Singh Dhillon, patron of Bastar-Koraput Truck Association, mentioned that the strike of bus and truck drivers may continue on Wednesday. They support the drivers’ demands but are unable to ask them to operate in such conditions.

Dhillon stated that there are 2 lakh trucks operating in the state, contributing significantly to export and import outside the state. This strike affects around 10 lakh employees, leading to shortages of essential commodities like petrol, vegetables, and milk in the coming days.

The Central Government is amending the ‘Hit and Run’ law to control road accidents. Drivers oppose this change, as the amendment in the Indian Penal Code, 2023, stipulates 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 7 lakh for drivers involved in accidents.

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