It's an Ordeal for Staff at KSRTC's Pavangad Depot
KOZHIKODE: It was in 2009 that the KSRTC bus depot on Mavoor Road was shifted to a temporary building at Pavangad owned by the Kerala Water Authority. While the shifting was done, the employees were told that it was a temporary adjustment, just for six months. But six long years have passed since then.
A visit by ‘City Express’ to the building exposed the pathetic plight of the depot, where around 600 employees, including more than 70 women, are struggling to survive. The buildings are ill-maintained with leaking roofs. The depot lacks proper toilets, potable water and food and the parking yard is filled with huge potholes.
“We didn’t raise any demand and we were prepared to adjust with the facilities at the depot, in the hope of shifting to the new building. If we had foreseen the present scenario, we would have come up with stiff opposition and some of them might even have left their jobs,” says an official at the Pavangad bus depot.
No Water and Food
When it comes to the basic needs of water and food, the staff have a tough time during their duty time. “Most of the employees working at the depot carry drinking water and food with them. But the drivers and conductors who come from other depots have to purchase drinking water bottles at their own expense. During nights they hardly get water as the nearby shops remain closed,” says an official. Though a well has been dug to meet the various requirements, the water is salty.
As per the figures, the depot spends `1,800 per day to bring 5,000 litres of water in a water tanker from Moozhikkal. A senior official says that the total expense of water supply exceeds `1 lakh per month. Besides, the schedule of services gets interrupted as a bus driver should be exclusively allotted for carrying water from Moozhikkal. “Yet, the water is inadequate to meet the requirements of the depot,” he says.
“The corporation authorities are reluctant to allow connection as the land is still owned by the Public Works Department. The issues relating to water cannot be resolved unless the land is acquired by the KSRTC,” he says.
The worst thing is that the employees are sometimes forced to use the salty water to clean the buses owing to the shortage of water.
“The buses, including the newly arrived low floor buses, are cleaned using salty water. We are sure that this will damage the buses. But, we don’t have another better option,” says an employee working at the workshop. “Most of us carry food and water with us. But the staff from other depots, who arrive here at night, expecting canteen facilities, are forced to starve,” says an employee.
The cooking equipment and refrigerator are lying dumped in one of the buildings here.
Though, according to the employees, demands were raised to set up a canteen, the authorities are reluctant to take a favourable action owing to space shortage.