What if one is trained to handle a situation at a particular place, but is sent to an altogether different location? This is what has happened, claim more than 200 drivers of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), who on July 2 went to meet the authorities asking them to address a
The recently recruited drivers of MSRTC based in Nasik, claim that they were trained behind the wheels of State Transport buses in and around Nasik, but they have now been sent to Mumbai. Some of the drivers, who have been staying in the city after their training session, went to MSRTC’s headquarters at Mumbai Central to meet the higher authorities and sort their problems out.
These drivers claim that they are finding it difficult to adjust to the roads of Mumbai, the traffic rules, the heavy vehicular traffic and other factors while driving. “We are locals from villages in and around Nasik. We had enrolled for the post of driver for Nasik division and completed our training there,” said Deepak Sonawane. Most of the drivers have been staying in Mumbai for over a month now.
Many drivers who applied for a government job in MSRTC, either left work in private shops or other posts of drivers for this. Bhausingh Rajput, another driver who hails from Nasik said, “Our salaries are equivalent to our standard of living back in Nasik. But with the same salary of around R6,000-7,000, it is difficult to survive in a metropolitan city like Mumbai.” They say that it has become very difficult for them to survive under their current salary structure and are hoping to be transferred back to Nasik. These drivers also claim that while they are here, their families are back home.
Senior MSRTC officials accept that this is a serious issue and the problems of bus drivers are genuine. “We are trying to seek a middle way out for these drivers. They have been posted here in Mumbai for six months,” said Deepak Kapoor, vice-chairman and managing director, MSRTC.
The officials are now also taking special interviews of villagers staying around Konkan region, for the post of drivers who can then be replaced as needed. Sources claim that the demand among people to work as bus drivers are less in Konkan. Presently, there is vacancy of nearly 2,000 drivers in MSRTC, which runs 16,000 buses everyday.