No safety? Public assault three BMTC conductors in two weeks!
- There have been three assaults on BMTC drivers and conductors in the last 15 days, so employees are now considering an indefinite strike
- As bus drivers and conductors get assaulted by public and motorists, passengers remain mute spectators
- The drivers and conductors say even the depot managers and division controllers harass them by not giving leave when required
The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation employees are accusing the administration of turning a blind eye to their complaints of assault by public and harassment by senior officials. The workers have threatened to launch an indefinite strike if the management does not take any action.
Mostly passengers and motorists air their grievances about unruly bus drivers and conductors, but what about when the tables are turned? Who pays heed to the BMTC workers when they are manhandled? Traffic in Bengaluru is a nightmare and is bound to get people angry but violence against the bus drivers and conductors or fellow motorists is not the solution.
In a recent incident, Madhe Gowda, a bus conductor attached to Rajarajeshwari Depot number 21 was manning the traffic to avoid accidents while the bus was reversing. Suddenly, a two-wheeler rider broke the signal and came in front of the bus that was supposed to go to Majestic. Madhe Gowda questioned the logic behind breaking the signal and coming from behind the bus while it was reversing, so the two-wheeler owner got furious and started raining blows on Gowda's face.
"The public witnessed the attack. I was only trying to ease traffic and take the bus safely without any accidents, but the unruly two-wheeler riders attacked me. The public caught the assaulter, and he was taken to the police station. A case was then registered," said Madhe Gowda. In his case Gowda was supported by the public and his superior, but in most cases, they are left to fend for themselves.
Depot Manager Prathima asked Gowda to go on leave as his nose was injured and said she would support him in fighting the case against the assault by the motorist.
In a similar incident, Mallesh another drive attached to Deepanjali Nagar Depot number 16 was slapped by an Innova car owner at the Vijanagar signal. "I asked the driver of the car to reverse as the road was narrow. The owner of the car got down and got the inside bus and started slapping me. What was more humiliating was none of the passengers were ready to help. This bystanders syndrome and lack of support from management are demotivating many of BMTC drivers and conductors," said Mallesh.
This kind of behaviour from the passengers and higher authorities could also be a reason why the BMTC workers come across as stern and rude, because they have to watch out for themselves.
BMTC employees association general secretary Anand criticised BMTC management for not standing by the rights of its employees and helping them get justice.
"The employees have no job security. The seniors harass and outside, the passengers do so, even other vehicle owners also assault them. If the management does not take some strong action then there will be an indefinite strike from BMTC employees," he said.
He further added that whenever media approaches the managing director or a top official from the BMTC they say they are with employees and are supporting them. If that was the case then why would conductors and drivers face assault and humiliation.