Chandigarh, Nov 3 (PTI) The public transport system in Haryana returned to normal Saturday as the protesting Roadways employees called off their 17-day strike and buses started plying across the state from 10 am. “We have started running the Haryana roadways buses across the state from 10 am,” Haryana Roadways employees’ coordination committee member Balwan Singh said.

Despite the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) being in force, the Roadways employees had been on strike since October 16 against the government’s move to induct 700 private buses, which they alleged was a move towards privatisation of the department to benefit a few chosen ones.

Even as the government held unsuccessful parleys with the striking employees twice, they have been invited for a fresh round of talks on November 12, Singh said.

The strike cost the state a loss of about Rs 40 crore, officials said.

Meanwhile, the state government has revoked the suspension and termination of around 300 employees of the department, they said.

However, those employed by the state government through it’s policy of outsourcing have been shown the door, they added.

Some of those who were removed from service which they got when the strike was underway staged protests at a few places in the state.

On Friday, the protesting employees had assured the Punjab and Haryana High Court that they would call off their strike by 10 am on Saturday.

The court had asked the state government to take back all the suspended and dismissed employees with immediate effect.

There are about 19,000 employees in the Haryana Roadways, which has a fleet of 4,100 buses that caters to about 12 lakh passengers daily.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.