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IT companies shrug off transport strike in Bengaluru with work from home

Information technology (IT) companies in the silicon hub of Bengaluru were partially hit by a transport strike on Monday, as many continue to follow a hybrid mode that allows employees the option to work from home (WFH) once or twice a week.

In the afternoon, the Federation of the Karnataka State Private Transport Associations called off the day-long strike in the city after assurances from the state government to fulfil most of its demands.

An email sent to major IT companies Infosys and Wipro did not elicit a response.

However, the spokesperson of a leading IT firm said on condition of anonymity that on such days most employees take the WFH option. “There is no impact from a work standpoint although footfall in the office is obviously low.”

Ramesh V T, general secretary of the Outer Ring Road Companies Association, said: “Companies have taken a stand based on their requirements. While employees of some companies have decided to work from home, some in critical roles have come to the office. There has been inconvenience, especially in terms of first- and last-mile connectivity. Overall, attendance has been low in most tech companies.”

Outer Ring Road is a major IT cluster in Bengaluru consisting of business parks such as Cessna Business Park, Embassy Tech Village, Manyata Embassy Tech Park, RMZ Ecoworld, and Prestige Tech Park, housing tech companies such as Accenture, Dell EMC, Cisco, Intel, IBM, and Flipkart, and global capability centres (GCCs) such as JP Morgan Chase, ANZ and Goldman Sachs.

An employee of a leading GCC said that such strikes are a blow to the global image of Bengaluru. “Clients see these strikes as a negative thing. I usually use public transport to commute to work as the traffic is bad, but today I had to drive. It was inconvenient for some of my friends who do not have their own vehicles.”

The bandh was called to protest against the Karnataka government’s Shakti scheme, which offers free travel facilities to women on non-premium government buses.

The federation complained that private transporters had lost more than 40 per cent of their revenue after the launch of the scheme by the Congress government.

Governments in Tamil Nadu and Delhi have also introduced free bus travel schemes for women in recent years.

According to official data, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government has allocated a subsidy of Rs 150 crore to the Delhi Transport Corporation for female commuters. The revised outlay in FY23 was Rs 200 crore, while the money spent in FY22 was Rs 130 crore. Cluster buses for women also get a subsidy of Rs 150 crore; Rs 126 crore was spent in FY22 and the revised outlay for FY23 was Rs 200 crore.

An estimated nine lakh private commercial vehicles, including auto-rickshaws, corporate vehicles, airport taxis, maxi cabs, and buses, stayed off the roads on Monday.

Meanwhile, the government said it had arranged 500 additional Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses for passengers, especially for schoolchildren, office-goers, and those going to hospitals. Business Standard

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