The situation on ST bus operations has improved with 80 drivers and conductors joining the duties during the past one-and-a-half months plus measures being taken by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC).
Now, over 100 buses are plying from Nagpur to various destinations in rural areas plus Amravati, Chandrapur, Yavatmal, Chimur, Gondia, Bhandara, Tumsar and others daily. The authorities are trying to start buses in Nagpur district for students appearing for HSC/SSC examinations to avoid inconvenience to them.
According to reliable sources, the management has allowed mechanics having licenses to drive the buses and Traffic Controllers to perform duty of conductors. Moreover, it has already appointed private bus drivers for operating the ST buses. The management has also decided to take back dismissed employees on work by procedure and appealed them to join by March 10. It will also take back employees served with dismissal notices. So far, it has dismissed around 450 employees in Nagpur division, sources pointed out.
Anil Parab, the Transport Minister, had increased in the salaries of drivers and conductors while clarifying that fulfilment of merger demand was not possible. However, the common drivers/conductors putting in 20 years services got increase of only Rs 2500/- in basic per month but the new employees putting in 10 years of service are getting Rs 5000/- per month raise. Therefore, this lot of drivers/conductors is nervous, sources pointed out.
The corporation has a fleet of 437 buses in Nagpur division and they have not crossed 10 years of life. MSRTC suffered huge losses last year owing to coronavirus pandemic while private bus operators, Kali-Pili taxi drivers and autorickshawallahs made hot business. Meanwhile, the indefinite strike by the employees has crossed four months now but there is no immediate solution to break the deadlock.