District home guards are set to step in to help run the beleaguered city buses in Jamshedpur, in the latest bid by Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) to streamline services.
According to sources, JTDC managing director Sunil Kumar wrote to home guard commandant of East Singhbhum Bharat Prasad Singh, requesting the latter to provide 12 home guard jawans — eight to double up as drivers and four for deployment at the Baridih-based depot for security.
A JTDC official who looks after the day-to-day affairs of the bus service in Jamshedpur confirmed the development.
“We want the bus service to improve so that better facilities can be provided to commuters. We believe that the home guard jawans would work effectively and help bring back services on track,” the official told The Telegraph.
Though the home guard commandant could not be reached for comment, his subordinate Sudarshan Gupta said they had received a letter from JTDC managing director, which had been replied to.
“To release home guards for the city bus service the approval of the deputy commissioner is required. We have said so in our reply to JTDC. Moreover, we have also sought a month’s advance payment for the 12 jawans,” said Gupta.
There are around 250 home guards in East Singhbhum. Their service is commissioned for ensuring law and order at the district collectorate, various police stations, wireless office, banks , telephone exchanges and other vital installations.
Notably, Jamshedpur was allotted a fleet of 50-odd city buses when the service was launched as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in August 2010. However, instead of streamlining public transport, the service has been hit by 30 strikes since over non-payment of dues to drivers and conductors.
The number of buses on the road too, has dwindled to 15 as has the number of notified routes. From eight notified routes, now the buses ply on only three to four routes. Most buses remain stranded at the Baridih depot due to lack of maintenance.
Now, JTDC appears serious about giving a new lease of life to the ambitious service.
It began operating the service in Jamshedpur on its own from August last year, after terminating Capital Detective and Security Services Limited, the private agency running the city buses in the steel city.
At present, 45 staff members have been deputed as drivers, conductors and other support staff for the buses. Even after appointment of the home guards, the conductors and other staff would continue to work as before.
Each home guard would get a monthly remuneration of Rs 6,000 (daily allowance of Rs 200). Apart from that, they would also get a daily food allowance of Rs 5.
Speaking to The Telegraph, manager (administration) of JTDC Aloke Prasad said hiring the home guards was a temporary initiative as they were facing problems in the absence of an outsourced agency. “We will come out with a fresh tender for appointing an agency soon. Till then, we will take the service of home guards to protect our property,” he said.
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