Conductor crunch, shabby SIS affairs hit Aapli Bus service on Hingna, Defence routes

Conductors deployed by the agency go on strike over non-payment of salaries

Aapli Bus

Nagpur: Commuters faced hardships as Aapli Bus service went haywire partially following an indefinite strike called by bus conductors deployed by Security and Intelligence Services (SIS) agency. The striking conductors were demanding payment of their salaries. On the other hand, SIS squarely blamed Nagpur Municipal Corporation for the salary fiasco as the civic body has not cleared their dues. The strike affected Aapli Bus service on Pardi, Hingna and Defence routes. However, the bus service was normal on other routes where conductors of other agency were on duty.

The agency Security and Intelligence Services which deploys its conductors on NMC-run Aapli Bus service from Hingna Depot Orange City Street, also admitted that the shortage of conductors was affecting schedules of buses on Hingna, Pardi and Defence routes causing trip losses.

The problem:
The Aapli Bus service on this particular route has been facing the perennial problem of shortage of conductors since the past 12 months. The shortage of conductors is at peak in the past 90 days. As a result, over 30 buses remained off the roads every day.

Loss to NMC:
The non-running of buses due to shortage of conductors dented the coffers of NMC to the tune of Rs 1,24,66,714 in the period from April 2018 to November 2018. The off the roads buses resulted in loss to NMC in terms of kilometres as trips were not plied on 4,79,489 kms. Earning of NMC per km from Orange City Street Depot is Rs 26 per km.

Mishaps due to overcrowding:
The shortage of conductors and non-plying of scheduled trips led to another serious problem. As some trips were not run, the other plying buses were overcrowded mostly by the students studying in different colleges in Hingna and nearby areas. This overcrowding led to accidents in which two students lost their lives.

The ‘sitting buses’ due to conductor crunch also put a Red bus operator No. 3 (Unity Security) in loss to the tune of lakhs of rupees every day.

The main reason the Orange City Street Depot conductors resorting to indefinite strike, it is learnt, is that the agency SIS forcibly recovered security deposit of Rs 12,000 as against Rs 6000 from conductors and also not provided any receipt. Another problem pricking the conductors is the deductions. Deductions of salaries of conductors are very high at SIS. Forget deductions, even salaries of conductors are not paid on time leaving them in the lurch. Moreover, Diwali bonus is ‘bad dream’ for the SIS conductors as they are deprived of this special privilege.

According to sources, out of the conductors caught pocketing money by not issuing tickets, several are from the SIS and hence many of them have been barred from operating the ticket vending machines. Moreover, the agency failed to find replacement of the conductors leading to the crisis. Even though default charges have been levied on SIS and warnings issued to overcome shortage of conductors, the erring agency has not taken any remedial measures. The agency has also failed to deposit statutory payments such as provident fund, ESI etc of the conductors, sources said.

To hammer out this perennial problem gripping the SIS and its conductors, the solution is to handover SIS job to other agency running the Aapli Bus service from Khapri and Patwardhan Depots.