A city bus in Sakchi on Monday. (Bhola Prasad)
As many as 15 out of 20 city buses were back on Jamshedpur roads on Monday after striking drivers and conductors withdrew their agitation.
“We called off the strike after the local authorities of Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) assured us that they would reinstate the driver, who had allegedly assaulted an employee of the corporation over some petty issue last month,” said a member of City Bus Karmachari Sangh.
About 50-odd drivers and conductors, who went on a strike on June 13 under the banner of City Bus Karmachari Sangh, reported on duty on Monday morning.
“The buses will ply on different notified routes as usual from today (Monday). We have assured them along with the conductors that driver Jeetendra Chaudhary will get back his job. We will soon make a recommendation to the Ranchi headquarters in this connection after seeking an apology from the driver,” said Rakesh Kumar, the local manager of JTDC.
He, however, added that reinstatement of the driver would take some time and the union of city bus employees was fine with it.
On Monday, the buses ran on designated routes — NIT Junction to Mercy Hospital, Transport Colony to Mercy Hospital, MGM (Dimna)-railway station, Sakchi court-Ram Mandir (Bistupur), Pardih-Sundernagar, Aashiana-Baridih, Kandra-railway station and Mango-Birsanagar.
Commuters were happy that the buses were back as they are a more economical mode of transport in comparison to auto-rickshaws.
“Since the strike began on June 13, I was compelled to hire an auto-rickshaw to reach my Bistupur office. Though it burnt a hole in my pocket, I had no other option. I am happy to see the city buses back on streets,” said Krishna Choudhary, a Sakchi resident.
Every day, the city buses ferry over 10,000 passengers. The fleet plies between 6am and 7pm, though on some routes, the service is extended till 9pm.
Sources said this was the 19th time that drivers and conductors struck work in the steel city since the bus service was launched in September, 2010.
However, the bus service stares at another bump. Capital Detective and Security Services Private Limited, the agency running the bus service in Jamshedpur, has issued a June 30 deadline to JTDC for payment of a year’s outstanding dues of approximately Rs 12 lakh, failing which the matter may go to court.