Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) is facing a loss of around Rs 10 lakh daily as more than 500 contractual employees from the state have been relieved from their jobs by the authorities due to their indefinite strike.
PRTC workers are on an indefinite strike for their long pending demands since August 2 and their firm stand forced authorities to start relieving contractual employees which resulted in vacancies for the job of drivers and conductors.
The government failed to recruit new drivers and conductors to run the buses as a result of which, bus services on various routes have been stopped.
More than 120 buses out of the 600 ordinary PRTC buses were lying unused at various depots of PRTC and about 522 employees, including drivers and conductors, have been relieved from their duties.
Earlier, the daily income to PRTC was approximately Rs 85 lakh per day which has decreased to Rs 65 lakh per day since the strike started.
Bus stand authorities are managing to run their buses by arranging retired staff and not issuing holidays to the working employees. There are nine depots of PRTC in Punjab, namely Kapurthala, Patiala, Faridkot, Barnala, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Budhlada, Sangrur and Bathinda from which only three depots of Ludhiana, Faridkot and Bathinda were least affected as most of their buses were providing services on routine.
Kapurthala depot had to discontinue the service of 34 buses due to staff shortage in the depot while about 20 buses were lying unused at the Patiala and Chandigarh depots.
On an average, 12 buses are lying unused at the remaining depots since the strike has started.
General manager (administration) of PRTC Surinder Singh said it was the duty of contractors to depute new employees as a substitute. “We have also demanded employees from other companies and have rescheduled the time table of all buses to provide hassle-free services,” he said.
Singh said authorities were trying to provide services and the loss had been covered as diesel of unused buses was being saved and salaries were not being paid to relieved employees.
Singh assured that within a week or two, contractors would recruit new employees and all buses would be functional soon.