Punbus, PRTC contractual workers block access to Amritsar ISBT

Shaheed Madan Lal Dhingra bus stand remains out of bounds

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 3

Seeking regularisation of the contractual staff, members of the Punbus and PRTC Contract Worker Unions will go ahead with indefinite strike across the state from December 6.

Today, they blocked access to the Shaheed Madan Lal Dhingra Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) for two hours to protest against the government for not accepting their demands. Raising slogans against the government, they squatted on the floor from 10 am to 12 pm.

A huge traffic jam due to PUNBUS, PRTC Contract Workers Union's protest as there was nobody to guide passengers at the ISBT.

The government was caught offguard as they did not have any alternate arrangement in place to handle the situation. A passenger Parminder Singh said there was nobody to guide passengers at the ISBT. It was only through word of mouth that he came to know that private buses were plying from outside. It was convenient for passengers arriving at the bus stand but difficult for those who want to catch bus to reach their necessary destinations.

Kuljit Singh, president, PUNBUS contractual Workers Union, said about 7,500 contractual workers employed with the PUNBUS and PRTC across the state will not join the duty from Monday. “Even after repeated assurances, the government have not regularised them. About 400 contractual workers are employed in two depots of this city only.” Citing his personal case, he said he had been working as a cashier on a contractual basis for the past over 12 years.

He stated that majority of them have been working for six years and even more. As per the norms of the Department of Transport, the financed buses being plied under the PUNBUS after paying off their loans would be merged in the Punjab Roadways. However, the same rule is not employed for the staff as they continue to be employed on contract. Buses under the Punjab Roadways are driven by regularised staff and no workers are employed under contract in it. Commuters plying their vehicles on the roads around the ISBT underwent a harrowing traffic hassles as passenger buses, being plied by private transporters, indulged in boarding and de-boarding passengers on roads.

Traffic was beyond management for traffic cops. Rupinder Kaur Marwaha, a commuter, said it was almost impossible to move ahead from the traffic jam in the GT road, adjoining the bus stand. As buses were parked on the road, the police personnel were trying to pressurise drivers to drive ahead their vehicles.

On contract for the past 12 years

Kuljit Singh, president, PUNBUS contractual Workers Union, said, about 7,500 contractual workers employed with the PUNBUS and PRTC across the state will not join the duty from Monday. "Even after repeated assurances, the government have not regularised them. About 400 contractual workers are employed in two depots of this city only." Citing his personal case, he said he had been working as a cashier on a contractual basis for the past over 12 years.

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