Employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) continued their strike for the 40th day on Monday, even as the bus operations resumed in 78 out of total 250 depots across the state, officials said. On Sunday, the corporation operated the highest 1,700 buses, out of its fleet of nearly 16,000 vehicles, since the strike intensified after the Diwali festival last month, a spokesperson of the MSRTC said.
A large number of the MSRTC employees have refused to relent, and are firm on their demand for the merger of the loss-making corporation with the state government. They went on the strike from October 28, and intensified it last month. Since most of the bus depots are shut, passengers have been facing a touch time. “The bus operations have resumed so far in 78 out of 250 depots,” the MSRTC spokesperson said.
The state-owned corporation has so far suspended 9,625 permanent employees and terminated the services of 1,990 daily wage workers following the strike, as per MSRTC officials.
Despite repeated appeals and warnings by Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab, who is the MSRTC’s chairman, a large number of employees are continuing the strike and many of them have protested outside the depots and bus stands of the corporation.
According to union sources, the MSRTC has transferred several employees since last week. As a result, the attendance at many depots has improved and bus operations at some more depots are likely to resume. The MSRTC is one of the biggest public transport bodies in the country with a fleet of around 16,000 buses and 93,000 employees.
The corporation used to ferry nearly 65 lakh passengers per day before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.