BHEL Small Industries' Association (BHELSIA) has requested the Transport Department to operate buses from Central Bus Stand, Main Guard Gate, Srirangam and Lalgudi to the Thuvakudi industrial estate, to cater to the increasing workforce requirements of the industries.

In its representation, the Association called upon the department to explore the possibility of providing bus passes to the workers.

Due to shortage of workforce, the BHELSIA is forced to depend on manpower from far-off States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Of the workforce of over 15,000, more than 2,000 are from the northern States, according to the BHESIA President, Rajappa Rajkumar.

At present, the local workforce in the hundreds of industries in the Thuvakudi area constitute people from nearby places including Pudukudi, Kattur and Tiruverumur as also distant places like Lalgudi.

However, the problem for workers coming from Lalgudi is that they have to change buses twice or thrice, spending substantial time in the process. It takes not less than one and a half hours for a worker to reach the work spot.

Similar is the case even for workers coming from Srirangam.

They have to travel to Mainguard Gate and take a bus to Thuvakudi from there. In the event of introducing special services from Lalgudi or Srirangam, there will be no need for the buses to get into the city traffic.

The buses could be operated via the Chennai Highway, resulting in substantial saving of time.

According to Mr. Rajappa Rajkumar, the special bus services will particularly be a boon to women. With women performing well as welders, higher number of women in the workforce would be of high value addition, he said referring to the rising manpower requirements.

The fabrication industries are perennially in need of manpower since a chunk of workers after gaining some experience tend to migrate to the middle-east nations or countries in the south-east.

Two buses each from Srirangam, Lalgudi, and Central Bus Stand to Thuvakkudi will be ideal. One bus from each destination should exclusively be for women, Mr. Rajappa suggested.

The BHELSIA has also made a personal representation to the Transport Minister, K.N. Nehru, on this issue. The Minister has promised to consider the request favourably, he said.