MSRTC employees continue their strike at Azad Maidan, on Thursday. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Two-hundred-forty-nine of 250 bus depots of MSRTC opened this week, as its employees* strike is set to enter 100 days on Friday. As per the latest official statistics compiled on Monday evening, of the 96,000 employees, 11,024 employees have been suspended and nearly 7,608 are dismissed from service so far. Further, 8,629 employees have been slapped with a show-cause notice for dismissal and are awaiting hearings. Around 27,504 employees have resumed duties and till Monday evening, state transport buses had made 8,525 bus trips across the state.
Transport Minister Anil Parab on Tuesday reviewed the working of the MSRTC and instructed officials to expedite the redevelopment of bus depots that were under process, but slowed down by the pandemic. Till March 2020, the state transport corporation made revenue of approximately Rs 20 crore every day. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, MSRTC incurred massive losses and never recovered from it. This led to salary issues and employee complaints.
The strike is causing inconvenience to people, particularly from the semi-rural and rural parts. It has also led to a major loss of revenue for the civic body. The employees gather at Azad Maidan and vacate the premises at 5 pm, as per the police guidelines. MSRTC employees went on an indefinite strike from October-end, over their demand for a merger of the cash-strapped corporation with the state government but intensified after the Diwali festival concluded. Despite giving a salary raise and assurances, there has been a stalemate.