UP: Roadways To Privatise Bus Stands on the Lines of Gujarat, Employees' Union cry Foul
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Lucknow: The employees of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) have decided to intensify their fight against the latest attempt to privatise commercial areas inside bus stand premises in the state on the lines of Gujarat, for which the Roadways has also approved the proposal in the board meeting, officials confirmed in a press conference.
"The aim of Roadways is to give the entire bus station on contract to a single person or organisation so that the hassle of repeated tenders gets eliminated. Therefore, Roadways is preparing a roadmap to provide facilities to thousands of passengers at 302 bus stations in its 20 zones across the state," the officials said, adding that renting out the bus station to a single person, institution, or organisation will benefit the passengers.
Masoom Ali Sarwar, Managing Director of Roadways, said, "A decision has been taken in the board meeting to privatise bus stands. It has been included in the tender. Individuals, organisations, institutions, etc., can take the bus station together on contract. Due to this, there will be no loss to the transport corporation, and it will also increase the passenger facilities."
According to officials, at present, many shops are not able to pay the rent, so the passengers are not able to get better food at the station. Canteens and stalls at bus stands have been lying vacant for years, due to which the roadways are also incurring losses worth lakhs of rupees. Officials also said that of the more than 300 bus stations the roadways have, 249 are owned premises, and 51 are rented. The municipal corporation usually has toilets, a booking office, drinking water facilities, a timetable display, an inquiry counter, a public address system, lights, fans, and seats at the bus station for the convenience of the passengers, but catering stalls are given on rent.
Recently, bus drivers, conductors and other staff of Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation blocked the regional manager's office in Lucknow and handed over a 25-point memorandum to GM Roadways, demanding immediate redressal of their long-pending demands, including contractual drivers and bus conductors being given salaries on the same pay scale and regularising them 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.
Rakesh Singh, a union leader of UP Roadways, speaking to NewsClick, said, "We have been demanding for regularisation of the contractual workers and held several demonstrations, but the state government is not taking cognisance of the matter instead, the government is privatising the corporation, bus stand and etc will not be tolerated at any cost. If this attitude of those in power doesn't change, thousands of workers will go on an indefinite strike."
Singh further said that UP recently topped the list in the public transport sector with UPSRTC, which registered the highest profit among all state transport undertakings.
"When UPSRTC is not running at a loss according to the government, in fact, the department is generating good income. With ill intention to benefit the corporate persons, Yogi has decided to privatise the department,' a union leader alleged. He further said common people would face huge problems with the privatisation of bus stands," another leader said.
However, Girish Chandra Mishra, general secretary of Roadways Karmchari Samyukta Parishad, told NewsClick, "Only commercial activities are being privatised, not bus stands. Earlier, the corporation was handing everything over, and now private players/organisations will take over everything, including food and other facilities at the bus stand."
The leaders of the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) have demanded the Yogi government give up the idea of privatisation of bus stands. They said that corporate people would benefit more than common people. They warned that if the central government does not shun its decision to privatise, then it will certainly face the consequences.
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