Bhubaneswar: Commuters had to face a harrowing time on the road as private buses remained off the road due to their protest against the arrest of the owner of the ill-fated bus ‘Maharaja’ which skidded off a bridge in Angul killing 19 passengers and leaving over 50 injured.
Around 18,000 private buses have stopped plying across Odisha from 6.30 AM on Thursday. The strike will continue till 6 AM Friday.
Passengers were seen stranded near the bus stops in the capital city.
“I reached Bhubaneswar from Chennai today. I want to go my village in Bargarh. But, there is no bus. The OSRTC bus has already gone when I reached the Baramunda bus stand from Railway Station,” said Saranga Kundu.
The All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBOA) has also threatened to go on indefinite bus strike from October 7 if the government fails to withdraw the case against Rishabh Tripathy, the owner of ‘Maharaja’ bus.
Notably, the bus had skidded off a bridge at Puruna Manitri near Athmallik killing 19 passengers on September 19.
The owner and driver of the bus have been arrested.
The bus association claimed that all papers of the ill-fated bus were valid and hence there was no ground for arresting Tripathy as he was at no fault for the bus meeting with an accident.
“How could you arrest an owner while the fault is with the driver. The bus has all valid documents. So, we demand the withdrawal of all cases against the owner,” said Debendra Kumar Sahu, general secretary of All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association.