UP: Pending Salary, Alleged Harassment, UPSRTC Contract Bus Driver Dies by Suicide
Lucknow: A contractual roadways bus driver of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) allegedly died by suicide inside a bus parked at Zero Road bus station in Prayagraj in the wee hours on Sunday. It is alleged that he took the step because he did not get his pay for two months.
The deceased, Ved Prakash Yadav, 35, leaves behind his wife and two children, bereft of a future all because the state-run transport could not pay him his salary for two months.
Yadav, a resident of Dataura village of Baberu Kotwali in Banda district, was a bus driver in UP Transport Roadways for the past eight years but struggled since June to make ends meet because he had no money. The UPSRTC had not paid him along with several hundred bus drivers and conductors and they were forced to borrow money from money lenders.
Yadav, according to his colleagues, took a bus from Banda to Prayagraj Zero Road depot. The passengers and conductor deboarded the bus when it reached its destination, but the driver stayed there and later allegedly hanged himself in the bus with a 'gamcha'. The conductor of another bus saw the driver hanging and raised an alarm. Some officials also reached the spot and the police were informed.
The driver, as per police, had last spoken to his wife at around 12:30 a.m on Sunday and was found hanging inside the bus at around 1 p.m.
DSP Rakesh Singh said that initial police investigation revealed that Yadav had killed himself. He said the body had been sent for post-mortem and efforts were on to ascertain the reason behind the extreme act.
Lavlesh, the brother-in-law of the driver, told NewsClick that Ved Prakash was under tension as he was on contract and some officers had allegedly been demanding money to extend his tenure His wife gave him some money but the demand was high and he was unable to fulfil it. Besides, he was not paid salary for the past two months.
Yadav’s wife accused roadways officials for harassing her husband continuously. "They used to threaten to fire him. They were demanding bribes to renew his contract for which I had borrowed money from relatives, but they were demanding more. He was also not paid a salary for the past two months," she said.
The Roadways Karmchari Sanyukt Parishad lambasted the state government and the UPSRTC for their callousness.
Mohd. Naseem, a conductor and Yadav’s colleague, alleged that they were being exploited by UPSRTC officers and some employees of the department. He said Ved Prakash Yadav was not paid salary for two months. "For this we also filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court. Investigation is going on,” Naseem told NewsClick, alleging that this was also the reason for Yadav's suicide,
Last week, the UPSRTC workers, including bus drivers and conductors, had blocked the regional manager's office in Lucknow and handed over a 25-point memorandum to the General Manager, Roadways, demanding immediate redressal of their long-pending demands.
Among others, the demands include contractual drivers and bus conductors be paid salaries on the same pay scale, regularisation after one year's service, stopping the operation of private vehicles and unauthorised buses plying on the national highway due to which the government is suffering a loss in revenue. The other key demands included salary parity with other departments, facilities like ESI and PF, the inclusion of workers in arbitration committees.
They also threatened a statewide strike and stopping operation of buses on September 27 if their demands were not fulfilled.
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