129 buses run in West Godavari

Contract drivers deployed despite union resistance

Staff Reporter

ELURU: Notwithstanding the vociferous protests by the striking employees, the APSRTC authorities operated 129 bus services in West Godavari district on Tuesday, the second day of the strike, covering almost all the main routes.

According to the RTC Regional Manager, S. Vijayakumar, 76 RTC buses and 53 hire services were operated by deploying contract drivers. The contract drivers had to play the role of conductors as well, since the conductors stayed away from duties. There were many complaints that the contract drivers had collected charges as per their will. For instance, a sum of Rs. 25-30 was reportedly collected from each passenger travelling from Eluru to Jangareddygudem, as against the regular charge of Rs. 16. They also failed to issue tickets to the commuters.

Tense moments

Meanwhile, tension prevailed at all the RTC depots and bus stations in the district following futile attempts by the agitating employees to prevent the contract drivers from operating buses. The police physically removed the protesters and cleared the way for contract drivers.

Although the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Eluru range, K. Narasimha Reddy, provided home guards to do the duties of conductors in buses following a request from the RTC officials, the strikers had forced the home guards to go back. The Regional Manager told The Hindu the RTC suffered a loss of Rs. 25 lakhs on Monday due to the strike and the loss on Tuesday, the second day of the strike, was yet to be ascertained.

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