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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Bus service affected as Pepsu staff protest following driver's death

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times   Patiala, December 30, 2013
First Published: 19:56 IST(30/12/2013) | Last Updated: 20:00 IST(30/12/2013)

Bus service from Patiala to various parts of the state besides the local routes was affected following a protest by Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) drivers and conductors after the death of a driver at the local bus stand on Monday morning.

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The protesters blocked the main gates of the bus stand premises restricting exit and entry of buses.

The demonstration started around 10am after the body of 40-year-old Balvir Khan, who reportedly died of cardiac arrest, was found lying in a PRTC bus. The deceased driver, who was a contractual employee, had slept in the bus on Sunday night after work.

He was rushed to a local hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.

As a result of the protest, there was a jam near the bus stand chowk; commuters had a harrowing time.
"I have come from Chandigarh and had to go to Budhlada, but with no bus service, I have no option than to hire a taxi," said Baldeep Singh.

The protesters, who were later joined by the family of the deceased, demanded a government job for the kin of the deceased and Rs. 10 lakh in compensation to the family.

PRTC managing director Bhupinder Singh Rai and Patiala SDM Gurpal Singh held several talks with the protesters.

'Driver made to work for 14 hours'

PRTC Workers Union (Azad) president Jasmer Singh said the deceased driver was made to work for 14 hours non-stop and covered around 400 kilometres. Attached with the Chandigarh depot of the PRTC, Balvir had been working on contract for several years.


"We have apprised the authorities of the mismanagement in compiling the roster for the workers forcing them to work for around 10-12 hours a day. The poor roster system has put workers, especially drivers, to inconvenience, leading to accidents," Jasmer said.

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