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City bus crosses staff pay hurdle

The Jamshedpur city bus service, which has hit many a pay bump in the past, can now look forward to a smooth run with the Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) clearing pending salaries of staff on Friday.

Around 35 drivers, conductors and support employees got their dues for the months of February and March.

Sources said the local office of JTDC — the executing agency of the JNNURM project — was working out the modalities of releasing April’s pay too. A proposal will be sent to the corporation’s Ranchi headquarters for necessary sanction.

“We are happy to get our outstanding salary, which is the outcome of a meeting with local JTDC officials on May 15. JTDC has also promised to clear our April’s salary,” said Ajit Singh, a senior functionary of City Bus Karamchari Sangh, which had spearheaded a week-long strike that came to an end on May 3 after the authorities promised to clear the dues. The seven buses, which were taken off the road by the protesting bus staff during the strike, also started plying again on that day.

In a further boost to the fast-dwindling fleet, five more buses hit the steel city roads on Friday after undergoing maintenance. They were designated on the busy Sakchi-Bistupur route.

The bus count had come down to a mere seven from 50 in want of proper upkeep. More are likely to state a comeback later this month with an official of JTDC at its local office insisting that efforts were being made to streamline the bus service in Jamshedpur.

“A new manager, Nand Kumar, has recently joined at JTDC’s local office. He is taking measures to make the service smooth,” said the official, not willing to be named.

Right now, of 50 Swaraj Mazda buses procured under JNNURM in 2010 at a cost of nearly Rs 5 crore, 12, including the five that hit the road on Friday, are running in three of seven routes — Sakchi-station, Sakchi-Kandra and Sakchi-Bistupur.

The East Singhbhum administration and local civic bodies have mooted a proposal to get the city bus service up and running on a public-private partnership model.

Do you think city buses will run smoothly from now on? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com