- The Transport Department has claimed that the strike will not disrupt the transport system in the state. The departmental officers had sent letters to the deputy commissioners of nine districts Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Mansa, Mohali, Bathinda, and Faridkot demanding security of the bus stands in the respective districts.
The contract employees of Punjab Roadways, PUNBUS and PRTC have started an indefinite strike from Monday. The employees expressed their anger against the government by demonstrating in front of the bus stand depot. There was silence at the bus stand due to the blockade of the buses. It has had the biggest impact on women going to their work by traveling on the bus every day. Women had to wait for the bus for hours.
Addressing the rally in Muktsar, State Sarpaor Kamal Kumar, President Harjinder Singh, Secretary Tarsem Singh, Assistant Secretary Balkar Singh, and other speakers said that the Punjab government is ignoring the demands of the employees. The employees are working in the department on nominal salary under outsourcing since the year 2007-08. When it comes to the interests of the employees and ensuring them, the government shrugs off by saying that these have been kept on outsourcing.
The employees have threatened to gherao the residence of CM Captain Amarinder Singh on 7 September if the demands are not met.
Resham Singh, leader of the Punjab Roadways PUNBUS Contract Workers Union, said that if the Captain Government did not pay heed to their demands, they would jam all the national highways in the state.
Bathinda Depot President Sandeep Singh said that the demands of the raw workers of the Transport Department are not being resolved by the Punjab Government for a long time. The workers repeatedly held meetings with the government and the transport minister regarding their demands, but neither the government resolved nor the concerned minister fulfilled their demands. Union leaders said that now they have entered the fray for a one-to-one fight with the state government.
Bus blockade, loss of six lakhs
On the very first day, there was a loss of about six lakh rupees due to the non-operation of Pathankot Roadways government buses. Pass holders and women passengers faced more problems due to the disruption of government bus service. Darshan Singh Gill, General Manager, Punjab Roadways Pathankot Depot said that 13 buses could run on the first day due to the strike. There are 90 routes here, three for Chandigarh, five each for Amritsar and Jalandhar. The striking workers are in talks with the higher officials of the department. Hope the issue will get resolved.
Out of more than 300 buses plying from Amritsar, 130 buses were jammed. Under the leadership of senior state chief Jodh Singh, the protesting drivers and conductors raised slogans against the Punjab government near the gate of the depot in Amritsar. Jodh Singh said that due to 10 thousand government buses in Punjab, regularize the raw employees of PUNBUS and PRTC.
700 buses standing at the depot
Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), which is facing a financial crunch due to the strike of contract and outsourcing workers, faced a loss of lakhs of rupees on the very first day itself. Due to a large number of drivers and operators involved in the strike, more than half of the buses in the PRCT fleet could not be sent on the routes. At present, the employees have declared the strike to be indefinite. In such a situation, this loss is expected to go into crores in the coming days. This worries the corporation management a lot.
In this regard, PRTC General Manager Surinder Singh says that it is expected that the strike of the contract employees will end soon. Otherwise, the damage could be substantial. The Ludhiana depot alone has suffered a setback of about Rs 20 lakh on the very first day. Due to the strike, only 10 percent of government buses are plying from Ludhiana depot. Private bus drivers took great advantage of this strike of government bus employees.
According to the data received, 700 buses were parked at different depots of Punjab due to the strike, while only 400 buses could be run on different routes with the help of regular staff. In such a situation, PRTC is being estimated to have a loss of Rs 90 lakh on the very first day of the strike. Of these, 60 lakh PRTC was to be received in cash, while 30 lakh women were given free bus travel facility, which is paid later by the Punjab government. At present, the corporation is earning about one crore 40 lakhs daily from buses.
The contract employees announced, today they will encircle the Moti Mahal and put up a firm front
On Monday, on the call of PUNBUS, Punjab Roadways, PRTC Contract Workers Union, contract and outsourcing employees quit their work and staged a strong protest inside the bus stand in CM City. On this occasion, demanded the government to regularize all the contracts and outsourcing employees as promised. On Tuesday, it was announced to start a pucca front by gheraoing the Moti Mahal.
In Amritsar, another aspect of the strike of bus drivers and conductors also came to the fore. Roadways officials engaged their clerical staff working in offices for a long time to run the buses. Gulzar Singh told that he drove the bus after many years because he was doing office work for a long time. He told that the government has given him the responsibility of running the bus, so he is running the buses.
Passengers were upset
Jalandhar’s elderly Lata told that she had come to Amritsar from Jalandhar in the morning to visit her relative. Due to the strike of the bus drivers and conductors, the bus was found in two hours. Whereas on other days a government bus leaves from the bus stand after every five minutes.
The same Dhariwal’s Prabhjot Kaur told that women have been affected the most due to the strike of roadways drivers. Although in routine she used to travel by zero tickets in the government bus, even with Monday ticket, she had to wait for about three to four hours to board the bus.
Suman of Tarn Taran told that she works in a private bank in Amritsar. She left the house an hour early in the morning to reach the bank on time. Despite this, there was a delay of half an hour in reaching the bank. Similarly, Snehlata told that she is a teacher in a school in Batala. They knew that there is a strike of bus drivers on Monday, so they thought it better to travel in a private bus instead of a government bus.