MSRTC starts process to hire bus drivers on contract basis

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PUNE As the strike of Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) workers completed two months, the Pune division of the public transport body has started appointing private drivers on a contract basis.

Earlier MSRTC had decided to take retired drivers but they received only one application.

The state transport minister on Saturday announced about hiring drivers on contract basis to start operations and accordingly the process has been started at all the divisions in the state.

Each driver will be given a salary of around 20,000 per month and these drivers are appointed in eight divisions – Pune, Nagpur, Bhandara, Dhule, Jalgaon, Nashik, Aurangabad and Solapur.

Also, in the future, more than 3,000 drivers will be recruited on a contract basis in the state by MSRTC.

As a large number of drivers and conductors are still participating in the protest, so this extreme decision has been taken by the MSRTC, said officials.

“Tour agencies have been appointed to provide drivers on contract basis daily and initially daily eight divisions will be given 100 drivers each to start the service from Sunday. Accordingly, we have now started the bus operations on various routes,” said Ramakant Gaikwad, Pune divisional controller.

For the last two months the MSRTC workers and their several unions are protesting for their various demands, a Kruti Samiti of the unions was formed earlier to have a conversation with the state government. But apparently, the main demand of merging the MSRTC into state government was compromised according to the workers, so now all the workers (apart from the union members) have spontaneously started the strike.

While to support the state government the private tourist bus association came forward and gave their 2,000 buses across the state.

But as these private tourist bus owners are charging high fares and passengers are suffering due to it, this decision to hire contract drivers was taken by the MSRTC.

In the MSRTC Pune division, a total of 1,300 employees out of the 4,200 have resumed work. Whereas show cause notices to 69 workers have been sent and after three rounds of inquiry hearing, they would be dismissed from work if they don’t join back duty. The Pune division has suspended 488 workers out of which 66 workers have joined back. Still, the number is less to start back the bus operations in Pune division in full capacity.

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