HYDERABAD: On a TSRTC route that stretches up to 450 km, there are barely two toilets. Shocking? This was one of the concerns raised by women RTC conductors at the JAC roundtable meet here on Thursday.
Over 20 women and transgender organisations lent their support to the TSRTC strike and raised five key demands. They sought the appointment of a special committee to address the several concerns and occupational hazards faced by women in the RTC.
“We are facing several issues every day, right from toilets to promotions. There are no MDs or officials to whom we can raise our concerns,” said K Padma, an RTC conductor with over 25 years of experience.
Elaborating on the issue of lack of public toilets, another conductor K Aruna said, “So many of us suffer from UTI and kidney-related issues as we have stopped drinking water altogether. The public toilets of Telangana are in a sorry state. I drive from Hyderabad Depot 2, all the way to Latur. En route, there are just two toilets — at Zaheerabad and Bidar.”
Things are no better in the city as the major spots lack functional toilets — either there are no water connections or the toilets aren’t cleaned. “We have to pay `10 to use an unclean toilet, whereas, a male driver or conductor is allowed to use it for free. The gender discrimination is rampant in our profession,” added Rama Devi, another conductor.
They also said that during pregnancy, they are often asked to work until the 9th month. This goes against the Maternity Benefits Act, which states that pregnant women must be provided with leave at least eight weeks before the due date.
Further, for the 5,000 odd women conductors and employees of the RTC, there is no Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to resolve cases of workplace sexual harassment.