THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even when thousands of sacked empanelled conductors of KSRTC are conducting an indefinite strike for their reinstatement, three terminated empanelled conductors from the capital city came out with an alternative to make ends meet. Anil Kumar, Shinu and Suresh Kumar, who were terminated, have now started their own enterprise - ‘Sea fresh’, where they sell packaged fish to nearby residents.
A week before the High Court issued an order to sack the empanelled conductors, Anil, hailing from Pappanamcode, started an alternative way for income by selling fish near his home. “When the High Court directed to post the advice PSC candidates to the corporation, I started looking for another option as it was almost clear the KSRTC will terminate us,” Anil told Express. “First, when I began this, I used to bring fish from Vizhinjam harbour and sell it to people near my home. After the termination order, Suresh and Shinu came to me and suggested to begin a small fish trade,” said Anil.
Anil was working in the city depot for the past 13 years. He along with his two friends began a fish trade in front of his house by contributing a share of `20,000 each. Here, they sell the fish procured from Vizhinjam, Poovar harbours. “Earlier, in the beginning, we hired an auto taxi to fetch and sell the product, but as the rent and diesel charges were expensive, we bought a van of our own. Now, we only have to worry about the diesel price,” said Suresh, a resident of Poonkulam, who was working in the KSRTC for the past 12 years.
Now, they have around 60 regular customers, including the residents of CGO Officers Quarters. “Though we don’t get a high income, at least we are able to manage our daily needs with this job,” said Suresh. After working from 9 am to 11 am, they join their fellow conductors in the indefinite strike held in front of the Secretariat for the past 17 days.
They return to their work for their evening shift from 4 pm to 6 pm. “Though we were working for a meagre amount in the KSRTC, it was enough to run the family. Even if the government reinstates us, we will continue with the fish trade. To expand the trade by setting up a shop, we are planning to apply under the Central Government’s self-employment scheme,” said Anil.