The City Bus Service again came to a halt on Wednesday as fuel stations stopped supply, according to the Prasanna Purple Mobility Solutions Pvt Ltd (PPMSPL), which operates and maintains the buses.
The PPMSPL officials claimed that the municipal corporation (MC) had failed to pay the outstanding fuel dues of more than ? 40 lakh since April due to which fuel supply was stopped.
“The PPMSPL was meeting all expenses on its own. But due to the long overdue amount, it has now become difficult for the company to operate the buses till payment is released by the MC,” said Vinod Kumar, maintenance incharge of PPMSPL.
On the other hand, the bus drivers claimed that they had gone on strike as their leader Parjit Singh was forced to give resignation.
But Kumar claimed that the buses were not stopped due to any strike of bus drivers, as the issue of drivers was an internal conflict between their two groups. He further said they had issued many reminders to the civic body to release the outstanding payments, but they did not pay heed.
The City Bus Service has a fleet of 105 buses of which 75 have been plying on the roads, while the remaining are gathering dust at the workshop due to non-availability of required permit or maintenance work.
Earlier in June, the conductors had gone on strike for more than two weeks, severely affecting the City Bus Service. Recently, the bus drivers had gone on a half-day strike demanding increase in salaries, on Saturday. However, they postponed their strike for five days.
It is pertinent to mention here that various political parties have in the past raised questions over the contract given to the PPMSPL, while also pointing at an alleged scam in the service’s operation.
The Congress councillors have been demanding a probe into the alleged discrepancies in the operations and maintenance of the City Bus Service. MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu had also raised the matter in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, stating that the City Bus Service had been suffering losses since it was handed over to a private company.
Besides, Shiv Sena has also demanded an inquiry into the losses being suffered by the City Bus Service.
MC CALLS MEETING
Meanwhile, MC officials conducted a meeting on the issue on Wednesday. MC additional commissioner Ghansham Thori claimed that ? 10 lakh had been paid to the PPMSPL and the pending amount would be cleared soon.
He added that they would check working of the City Bus Service to make the service profitable. “We are also planning to give incentives to the bus drivers and conductors. The next meeting will be held on Saturday,” Thori added.