May 15, 2017
Look onto the road and imagine this life of ours without public transport. No more buses overflowing with passengers. No more transport council. We would feel crippled, congested in our autonomous vehicles. India is not an oil producing country. According to surveys, we spend over Rs 4,18, 931 crore rupees on fuel. If public transport that enables less fuel wastage and pollution are available, it would mean economic efficiency and low pollution level which in turn would save us from illnesses like TB, lung cancer and other beathing ailments .
Considering this bus strike in Tamil Nadu through the perspective of a consumer, one can clearly relate it to maladministration, misuse of power and corruption leading to low funds and a collapse in the Transport Corporation. Mr. C.M. Jayaraman, President of Citizens Voice Club, a Consumer and Environment Centre of Coimbatore believed that a transport strike is inevitable and attributes it to mismanagement and low revenues due to wasteful expenditure by the Government.
The retired Director General of Police, Mr. Ravindran who 20 years ago, used the example of a spare part worth Rs. 420 being purchased with a receipt of Rs. 42,000, was cited by Mr. Jayaraman to talk about the grips of corruption that have taken control of the Government.
Jayaram also used example of subsides given to the tribals of Ooty; the free bus pass given to students, that which are supposed to be funded by Tribal Welfare Department and the Educational Council but are often ignored thus making the transportation department liable for paying such subsides.
Retired IAS Officer, M. G. Devasahayam believes that this is due to lack of governance where there is no proper budgeting of funds. Devasahayam goes on further to explain that this happens due to the disregard for economic norms by the Government that would rather use its funds for giving freebies to citizens rather than provide employment.
He appeals to the present Government,– “the manifestation of the rotten economic policies pursued by the ruling party for a long time is nothing but mendicant politics.” Schemes pertaining to transportation, electricity, healthcare and education have taken a backseat while the funds meant for them are going a waste due to improper distribution policies.
Explaining the part of Government in this, he talks about how the movement of buses, their routes, the ticket collection, revenue reporting, mileage, quality, occupancy and human resource are not properly managed due to misadministration .
Both Mr. Devashayam and Jayaram spoke on low productivity which is the result of excess manpower in the bus staff ratio. Jayaraman went on to explain that 30% of the manpower hired often follow the practice of fake deputation and use the excuse of trade unions in order to pursue other businesses while they receive a normal income from public transport corporation. This leads to double shifts and fatigue in the case of those who have to cover their shifts diligently.
Their overworking also leads to accidents which is a critical subject for both the staff and the passengers. He also believes that as there are no norms of cost analysis and supervision, they believe they end up harassing nd looting passengers.
The Citizen’s activist also discussed the Payment of Income Act which states that the employer cannot deny the income or the pension to the employees, which is the current state of Public Transport Corporation employees. The denial to serve them statement of account only indicates that money could have been siphoned out by corrupt means.