Bengaluru: Drivers and conductors, who launched an indefinite strike on December 11 demanding that they be considered government employees, are showing no signs of relenting and reporting back to work.

With the standoff between workers of the various road transport corporations in Karnataka continuing on Sunday, the state government has hinted about its plans to deploy private buses to close the gap in public connectivity in the state.

After meeting Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday, Deputy CM and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi said he was hopeful that the issues would be resolved by today.

“In case the protesting employees do not come forward for talks to resolve the issue, we will ask private operators to run buses from Bengaluru to other districts, and from districts to routes connecting taluks and villages. Private buses will be asked to serve commuters in Bengaluru Urban areas as well,” Savadi said.

Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and acting president of the transport union, who is leading the protests, announced on Saturday that the protesters would go on a hunger strike from Sunday.

The general public continued to suffer as most buses remained off the road on Saturday. Employees of corporations refused to take buses out from the depots, leaving people, including the elderly, women, children and patients who had come to the city for treatment, stranded at bus stops.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) could operate only a skeleton service. Till Saturday evening, the BMTC operated 126 buses out of over 4,800 schedules, while the KSRTC operated 180 buses from around 6,000 schedules.