Madurai: Public transport services were severely affected in Southern districts of Tamil Nadu as the Opposition-backed trade unions of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) began an indefinite strike over settlement of retirement benefits and payment of operational deficit to the transport corporations among other things, today.
Majority of TNSTC buses are off the roads across South Tamil Nadu, as the strike began last evening itself by a section of transport employees causing hardship to the commuters.
Transport employees affiliated to the Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai of the ruling AIADMK continued to operate bus services, besides the private bus services were also maintained as usual.
The transport strike hits tourists and pilgrims, as thousands were reportedly stranded at Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Kodaikkanal Hills, Velankanni and elsewhere.
The respective district administrations in coordination with regional transport officials had roped in drivers of private schools and colleges, besides temporary drivers to operate the government buses.
Only 30 per cent of the TNSTC buses were being operated in Madurai district. Out of the total 855 buses belonging to 16 TNSTC depots, 298 buses were only running with police protection.
In Thoothukudi district, out of the total 310 buses, less than hundred buses were functional. Twenty-five per cent of buses were plying in Dindigul and Theni districts. However, the Kerala State Transport Corporation operates buses to Cumbum and Bodi in Theni district.
Around 35 per cent of the TNSTC buses were being operated in Tirunelveli district. Reports reaching here said more than 90 per cent of buses are off the roads in Tiruchirapalli and Perambalur districts.
Four TNSTC buses were stoned at Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district in the wee hours. Police arrested a TNSTC conductor and few others in connection with the stone-pelting.