THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: S Gopakumar, a conductor from Vellanad depot in Thiruvananthapuram, had sustained serious injuries after his bike was hit by a car while returning from duty in June 2013. In the accident, his right leg was fractured and he had to undergo multiple surgeries to fix the bones, besides grafting of flesh. When he returned after 22 months of treatment, he was given task as the station master under the 'other duty category' in the same depot. With the new directive issued by the corporation, he is asked to return to the conductor's duty even though he is not fully recovered.
Like many other government organisations, the KSRTC has been kind to its employees in distress, especially to those who are disabled. Employees, who are unfit to perform their normal duties including those injured during duty hours, have so far benefited from mercy postings that didn't physically tax them. Such 'other duty' assignments are not part of the latest labour reforms being enforced by the corporation.
The 55-year-old employee, who is now on leave due to health issues, said, "After the accident, my right leg has become weak. I could not stand and work for long hours, so asking me to work as a conductor is not practical."
While undergoing treatment in Medical College, the redness and swelling started spreading in my leg as an early sign of infection and my condition got worse. "Even during the tenure of the previous two CMDs - M G Rajamanickam and Hemachandran - they had issued a similar order to remove the 'other duty' category. But after a personal request, they asked me to continue here as the station master," he said.
Based on a new circular issued by CMD Tomin J Thachankary on November 30, Gopakumar has been asked to re-join as a conductor as there is a shortage of staffs in the corporation. However, in a hope to get special permission, Gopakumar decided to meet the current CMD. "He asked me to join the duty as soon as possible or sit at home. The CMD also made a statement that if I die before 56, the corporation will surely give my son a job under the dying harness category," said Gopakumar.
Gopakumar who lives in a rented home near the depot was forced to sell his land for treatment and his daughter's marriage. As his son is still in search of a job, the family still depends on his income. With 10 more months left till retirement, the 55-year-old conductor hopes the corporation will consider his plea.