Bus driver commits suicide, union blames BEST
The transport wing of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is in an awkward situation as the BEST Kamgar Sena, a workers’ union affiliated with the Shiv Sena, has said the BEST administration did not take any measures to prevent a series of suicides committed by its stress-ridden workers.mumbai Updated: May 28, 2011 01:38 IST
The transport wing of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is in an awkward situation as the BEST Kamgar Sena, a workers’ union affiliated with the Shiv Sena, has said the BEST administration did not take any measures to prevent a series of suicides committed by its stress-ridden workers.
On Friday, Suhas Samant, BEST committee member and Kamgar Sena leader, put up a list of six workers who committed suicide and three workers who attempted to take their lives.
“Most of them are working on daily wages. They don’t earn enough to cater to their families’ basic needs. This compelled the workers to take extreme steps,” said Samant.
Samant discussed the case of Premshankar Domaprasad, a driver who was suspended from duty for three months. Domaprasad, a driver of the Worli depot, had been working with BEST since 1992 and was put under vigilance after a conflict with a senior officer, after which he was suspended. He consumed poison in a bout of depression, said Samant.
“Currently, Domaprasad is admitted in the KEM hospital. He was suspended under accusations of irresponsible driving. Such harsh decision will not be tolerated and we will protest against it,” said Samant.
In response, OP Gupta, general manager of the BEST said, “These are individual cases and I can’t clarify anything on suicides as they become a police case.”
Gupta further added, “There is a need to strike a balance as several complaints were made against drivers for breaking signals and rash driving. So our depot managers had to be strict, or face criticism themselves.”
Ravi Raja, a BEST committee member from Congress supported the GM’s statement, saying, “There is a problem of absenteeism and alcoholism among BEST bus drivers. We need to increase the wage of those drivers working on daily wages but there is also a need to investigate the reasons of suicides and work on it.”