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City bus strike threat over no pay

New year, same old problems. Employees of JNNURM-sponsored city bus service who have not received salaries for the past three months on Friday warned of an indefinite strike from January 14.

Drivers, conductors and support staff on Friday gave an ultimatum to Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC), which runs the service, to pay them their dues by January 13, failing which buses would go off roads from the next day.

JTDC paid up the September salary two days ago.

So far, we have only received our September salaries. Employees are waiting for their dues of three more months. We are forced to serve JTDC an ultimatum, City Bus Karamchari Sangh president Ganga Prasad said.

Drivers get around Rs 3,200 per month while conductors get Rs 3,700, but the amount varies, depending on the number of days they work.

The last strike over salary no-show took place in November first week. At that time, the employee ceasework lasted for three days.

The JNNURM bus service that started in Jamshedpur in September 2010 has, in a little over two years, faced more than 20 strikes. The main grouse has been JTDCs delay in making salary payments.

The beleaguered public transport service has also suffered a significant reduction in routes from December 2012, which points to another vicious cycle of less number of buses and low collections.

Right now, the buses run on three routes Sakchi to Tatanagar station, Baridih to Sakchi and Sakchi to Bistupur.

This month, the service was withdrawn from Sakchi-Sundernagar and Sakchi-Pardih routes. In December last year, the Sakchi-Kandra route was shelved.

Of the 50 buses, only 10-12 buses are currently in running condition. Most vehicles stay stranded at the Baridih bus depot due to poor maintenance.

A JTDC official admitted they were unable to run buses due to want of maintenance and repairs. When the service was launched, buses used to run in eight notified routes which have now been slashed to three-four. But we are making efforts to clear the dues of the employees, he said.