In a first, private buses hit the roads

In a first, private buses hit the roads

Bengaluru

Even as a majority of the state-owned BMTC buses remained off the road on Wednesday, causing inconvenience to a large number of passengers, the transport department succeeded in operating a little more than 3,000 private vehicles in the state including 1,124 buses in the city. This is the first instance of private vehicles plying on the city’s roads offering stage-carriage services, which was so far banned.

Officials of the transport department and BMTC said they plan to rope in more private operators including school buses to provide alternatives if the protest continues.

Strike to continue

Kodihalli Chandrashekar, who is leading the protest, said the strike will continue on Thursday. “The government had promised in December to increase the salaries of the transport workers on par with the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission. We will not accept the wage revision by 8%,” he said. He said the government is pushing the workers to protest by backing out from its promise. “The government has enough funds to allocate Rs 10 crore to Rs 500 crore to religious and caste groups in the budget. When it comes to addressing our concerns, the government has no money,” he said.



Woes of drivers, conductors

An interaction with a bunch of BMTC drivers and conductors revealed that they earn anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 40,000, depending on experience. While a driver with five years of experience takes home a salary of around Rs 20,000 after standard deductions, an employee who has worked for about 15 years gets about Rs 30,000 a month.

The govt had promised to raise salaries of transport workers on par with the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission­. We won’t accept 8% revision

– Kodihalli Chandrashekar, workers’ leader

Many said that their salary was too low for the amount of work they do, which stretches beyond 10 to 12 hours.

A few others said they have no issues with the salary but the constant harassment they face from depot managers, divisional controllers when it comes to getting leave, selection of a route and lack of pay for overtime are their problems. There is also a common complaint that the medical benefits and insurance currently provided are not attractive.

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