Nagpur: Commuters in the city on Wednesday had a horrid time as conductors and drivers of “Aapli Bus” went on a flash strike demanding wages on the lines of contractual workers of Nagpur Municipal Corporation.
The city bus service came to a grinding halt due to the strike putting commuters, specifically the daily travellers, to great inconvenience. Buses were off the roads in the city leaving the autowallahs ‘Kings of the day’ who resorted to fleecing the helpless commuters no end.
The striking employees of ‘Aapli Bus’ lamented that they are being paid wages in accordance with the GR of Transport Department of State Government. These wages are much less in comparison to contractual workers of NMC. “We are demanding wages in accordance with the GR of Urban Development Department as we are also working on behalf of Transport Department of NMC,” said the striking employees.
The different GRs have also put the NMC Administration in a dilemma of sorts.
Meanwhile, the Transport Department of NMC said that talks with striking employees of ‘Aapli Bus’ are going on. The strike could be called off soon, hoped the babus. A fleet of 204 buses run daily on city roads. The strike has paralysed the bus service causing problems of unprecedented magnitude.
The Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said that the bus service commenced as usual in the early morning bud suddenly the conductors and drivers struck the work. They stopped the trips midway and took all the buses to their respective depots. Around 250 conductors initially went on strike but later joined by all the employees. “The NMC Administration have met all the demands of striking employees of ‘Aapli Bus.’ Out of 1124 employees of old operator, 800 employees have been given employment by the new operators. The remaining workers will also be given jobs soon. They are being paid the minimum wages in accordance with the law. Deposit of Rs 7,000 each is being taken from conductors at the time of recruitment. The new operators are being directed to issue receipts to the conductors for the deposit amount. Similarly, the new operators have been directed to pay overtime to those employees doing more than 8 hours of duty. But still the conductors and other employees of Aapli Bus have resorted to strike by pushing forward “illegal” demands. Harassment and inconvenience to commuters will not be allowed and tolerated as well. If need be, licensee unemployed youths would be appointed if the striking employees remain adamant and continue their strike,” warned the Municipal Commissioner.