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MSRTC panel to study drivers' mental health

The accident in Pune on January 25, in which eight people died and 29 were injured, has compelled the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to focus its attention on the psychiatric condition of 37,000 MSRTC drivers working across the state.

mumbai Updated: Feb 03, 2012 01:19 IST
Prajakta Chavan

The accident in Pune on January 25, in which eight people died and 29 were injured, has compelled the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) to focus its attention on the psychiatric condition of 37,000 MSRTC drivers working across the state.

The corporation has appointed a 12-member committee, which will focus on the drivers' stress levels, working conditions, mental agony and the effect of these on their performance.

The committee headed by Deepak Kapoor, managing director, MSRTC, includes Dr Subhangi Parkar, who is in-charge of KEM's psychiatrist department, PA Wankhede, head of VJTI's mechanical engineering department, Dr Anil Podar, MSRTC chief medical officer, Major VB Thorat, retired MSRTC general manager and senior officials from other departments.

The committee will also review the MSRTC's lock-and-key system and suggest ways to improve it. MSRTC driver Santosh Mane, had on January 25, used a master key to hijack an empty stationary bus.

This week, two committee meetings were held where members were briefed on the functioning of the MSRTC and the conditions in which the drivers work including the condition of the buses and depots.

"After studying the above aspects, the committee will deliver its report elaborating the problems, solutions and alterations within a month. This report will then be submitted to the state government," said an MSRTC official, on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing code of conduct.

So far, the corporation concentrated only on the physical health of the drivers. Routine tests were conducted to ensure good eyesight, hearing ability and cardio check-ups.

"We maintained the medical records of all our employees, but so far the need for psychiatric help was never raised. However, now we are focusing on that too," the official added.