TIRUNELVELI: Transport employees in in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi said the shortage of spare parts in the districts have lead to fewer buses being operated here. They have urged the State government to look into the issue immediately as they receive a major chunk of their profits in the year during the Dipavali season.
TNSTC Workers' Federation General Secretary Sudalaimuthu said there are 10,615 transport employees and 1,773 buses in Tirunelveli division. Among the buses, women travel free in 587 of them. "However, the depots in Tirunelveli are facing a shortage of spare parts and sometimes the driver or the conductor has to pay for it out of their own pocket. When they can't shell out the money for it, the buses stop plying. Nearly 110 buses in 18 depots of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi have stopped functioning due to the shortage of springs, tyres and other spare parts," he added.
R Thinakaran (46), a bus driver, told TNIE, "We spend our allowance to buy small parts such as headlight bulbs, side mirrors, indicator lights, and horns. It takes time for the spare parts to be arranged so we buy it in advance for emergencies."
Adding to this, the Federation head expressed, "More than 400 tyres and other spare parts are required to restart bus operation in the district. During the Dipavali season, a bus earns `25,000 to `30,000 per day unlike regular-day-collection of less than Rs 20,000. If the State government addresses this issue soon, bus services could be resumed during the festival season."
Managing Director of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC), Tirunelveli, S Rajeswaran said there has been no issue of shortage of tyres or spare parts in Tirunelveli division and buses are operating normally.
Adding to this, the transport employees requested State Transport Minister RS Raja Kannappan to solve the issue emphasising saying they haven't received the festival bonus or any increment during this period.