School bus operators protest outside Ludhiana DC office, seek monetary relief
Struggling to make ends meet due to closure of schools for more than five months, school bus operators, under the banner of School Bus Operators’ Welfare Association, staged a protest on Tuesday outside the Ludhiana deputy commissioner’s (DC’s) office against the Punjab government for not providing any monetary relief to them.
The protesters said there were over 3,300 bus operators in the city who were struggling financially after the lockdown imposed in March due to the Covid-19 outbreak and had changed their vocation to earn bread and butter for their families, they claimed.
They said the government had announced no relief in terms of either monetary benefits or waiver on motor vehicle taxes and demanded a new safe school vahan (vehicle) scheme allowing operators to use the buses for other purposes after school hours.
General secretary of the association, Gurvinder Singh, said, “No relief has been provided by the government since the curfew was imposed in the state in March. Banks are also issuing notices to the bus operators to pay loan instalments as the government has failed to intervene. The bus operators and their families are struggling to make ends meet, but the government is paying no heed to their problems.”
In a memorandum submitted to the district administration, the bus operators also threatened to take the agitation to the next level in the coming days and hand over the keys of their buses to the administration.
Association president Inderjit Singh said, “We would be left with no other option than to hand over the keys of our buses to the government. The situation is becoming worse every passing day and we demand that the government immediately announce monetary relief for the sector.”