The troubles of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) don’t seem to end. With more than five hundred employees and 11,000 pensioners unsure of when their dues will be paid, buses have also been facing a shortage of spare parts in workshops.
As per information given by officials, some buses have been grounded in the absence of spare parts while a few have been discontinued permanently. Around 20-25 buses have been dismantled due to lack of proper maintenance.
Earlier, there was a centralised system to provide spare parts for PRTC buses so that good quality spare parts could be delivered at genuine rates. For the past two years, the system has been changed and mechanics are dependent on local purchase. The grounding of buses in the workshop due to shortage of spare parts is also adding to the losses being incurred by the PRTC.
Hardyal Singh, a retired senior assistant at one of the workshops, said there was a proper system for bulk purchase of spare parts but the negligence of the management had created problems for employees. He said sometimes, drivers had to spend their own money to purchase the spare parts of the buses so that they could run their buses and earn money.
Another workshop official also informed that employees had not been paid for the past three months and more than ten thousand pensioners had been waiting for their due.
Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, convener of the PRTC Workers’ Action Committee, said neither had the state government been providing spare parts nor were they releasing salaries or pensions which were due for the past 3-4 months. He said, “We have put forward our demands, including the start of new buses and immediate release of Rs 250 crore for pensioners. We have also raised objections over the sale of land of the PRTC’s head office.”