The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) on Monday said 38 of its 250 bus depots continued to remain shut due to an agitation by employees demanding the merger of the undertaking into the state government.
According to MSRTC officials, the highest, 15 of 47 depots, were shut in Aurangabad region, followed by 12 of 26 depots in Nagpur area.
They said five depots in Pune region, three in Nashik, two in Amravati and one in Mumbai are currently non-operational due to the stir.
"All bus depots in Chandrapur and Gadchiroli in Vidarbha, and majority of bus depots in Nanded and Latur in Marathwada are shut due to the agitation. We have already started Diwali peak season operation in the state, and to avoid inconvenience to people, extra buses from other depots will be operated," Shekhar Channe, vice-chairman and managing director of MSRTC. told PTI.
"We are trying to keep bus operations on at the maximum number of depots, so that people are not inconvenienced during the festive season," Channe added.
MSRTC officials said the undertaking had not served any notice to employees, though an industrial court declared their agitation, which has been underway since October 28, illegal.
They said 190 depots were shut during the peak of the stir, with staffers demanding an increase in dearness allowance, house rent allowance and salary.
While a majority of the depots resumed operations on October 29 after labour unions met state transport minister Anil Parab, staffers at 35 depots continued to persist with the stir seeking a merger of the cash-strapped MSRTC with the state government, they added.
MSRTC, with 93,000 employees and 16,000 buses, caters to some 65 lakh passengers per day, but has witnessed tremendous financial strain over the past few months due to curtailed operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the relentless rise in diesel rates.
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