TSRTC employees demand Covid protection on duty
Bus drivers and conductors urge government to consider them as 'frontline warriors
Hyderabad: With the surge in Covid-19 cases and imposed lockdown, the employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) have urged the State government to consider them as 'frontline warriors'.
Demanding the government to ensure maximum protection of RTC employees during the pandemic, some of the unions have organsied demonstrations in front of Busbhavan and depots.
Sources said that all the bus depots in the State are reporting a surge in Covid-19 positive cases at an average of 15 to 20 fresh cases during the second wave of Covid-19 and taking the overall death number to nearly 40 which has surpassed the 32, recorded during the first wave of Coronavirus.
Ashok Kumar of National Mazdoor Union said, "Most of the departments have Covid monitoring cell-like GHMC, but there is no specific cell to monitor the rising infection cases within TSRTC department." Ashok further informed that there is no clarity over the number of deaths in the RTC, as it is compiled at the Zonal level. The employees are being left without any help, in case of contracting the infection, he added.
"The Government should immediately recognize the RTC staff as 'frontline warriors' and treat them accordingly. Even exgratia is also not being provided to those dying of Covid-19," said Raji Reddy, General Secretary of the Telangana Employees Union (AITUC). Hanumanth Mudiraj, General Secretary of TJMU, alleged that there were around 100 (including unofficial) deaths in the second wave. "Let alone separate cabins for drivers, the department was not even providing basic provisions like face masks and hand sanitizers for the drivers and conductors."
Responding to queries, Yadagiri, ED (Administrative and Operations) acknowledged that there were more deaths in the second wave but could not give more details.
He said that the management was ensuring all precautions including disinfecting buses and bus stands and Covid kits are being supplied among employees. "Separate center for a particular department cannot be set up, as there are protocols to be followed," Yadgiri added.