Clearing operations at Nhava Sheva Custom House – hit due to the employees’ protest over the discontinuation of bus services since Monday – are set to normalise soon. As, the authorities have now decided to restart all the bus services by weekend.
The custom house caters to the busy Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) port that handles over 11,000 containers daily.
The custom house employees were provided with four private buses from Andheri, Borivli, Dadar and Thane that would help them ply to work. Around 150-200 staff members, reportedly comprising 40% of the staff, travelled by these buses. The travellers belonged to the B, C and D class and ranged from the superintendent to the peon.
However, a recent circular issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) stated that no transport allowance should be given to the employees in cases where transport services have been provided. The deduction would have amounted to Rs 4,000 per month.
Claiming that they had to spend money to reach the spots from where the bus could pick them up, the employees refused to accept the cut. Consequently, the bus services were discontinued from Monday. Agitated by this, several employees then simply stopped coming to work claiming that it was not possible for them to reach the far-flung area.
Sushil Solanki, commissioner of customs (export), took up the matter with the ministry of finance, explaining that the situation here is “peculiar’ as there is no direct public transport to the area from Mumbai.
Solanki, on Wednesday, informed, “The bus service from Andheri will resume on Thursday. The other three bus services too will start by the weekend.”
Admitting that the clearance work along Nhava Sheva had suffered, Solanki added: “With low attendance, work has certainly been hit. Several of the personnel taking the bus are clerical staff members. In their absence, the documents are not being processed. The entire chain of clearance work has been affected. The clearance situation will normalise within a few days from the resuming of bus services.”