Bhubaneswar: The strike by the drivers of commercial vehicles in Odisha was Friday put on hold for 90 days following an assurance by the state government that all their demands would be fulfilled and an appeal by the Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena. The decision to put the strike on hold was announced by the Drivers Ekta Mahasangh president Prashant Menduli after a detailed discussion with all stakeholders.
Over 2 lakh drivers had launched a strike across Odisha from Wednesday for an indefinite period demanding social security, including pension after 60 years, accident benefits, and formation of a welfare fund.
“Keeping in view the Odisha government’s written assurance and appeal by the Chief Secretary, we are putting the ‘quit steering’ agitation on hold for 90 days,” Menduli said in a video message.
The announcement by the Drivers’ Ekta Mahasangh came barely within few hours after Jena and DGP SK Bansal appealed to the striking drivers to withdraw the stir.
Thanking the drivers for their unity, Menduli urged them to return home. “The drivers protested peacefully for three days. Because of the strike the people have suffered and the government has also assured us to consider our demands in three months,” he said.
Asked if their 10-point charter of demands was not met within the stipulated 90 days as assured by the Odisha government, Menduli said: “We will go for self-immolation in front of Naveen Niwas on the 91st day, if our demands are not met within three months.”
Earlier in the day, Jena said the strike was impacting examinees, patients going to hospitals and the supply of essential commodities. The DGP also appealed to the drivers not to take law into their own hands.
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