10 drivers over 55 years,rest are new recruits who havent undergone tests
About 30 drivers of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) have been driving buses on city roads for close to two months now without having gone through medical check ups due for them. Of them,10 drivers are over the age of 55 and the rest are new recruits who are yet to undergo even a single medical check up.
The transport utility staff has not undergone medical tests after December 15,when the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) medical board refused to continue doing so for PMPML. The PMC had been carrying out the tests for over 7,000 of the transport utility staff members since 1996. However,citing work overload as the reason,the PMC medical board stopped carrying out fitness tests for the PMPML staff.
PMPML has 2,875 drivers,including those on contract. Asked about the total number of drivers above the age of 55,the officials were unable to provide the data. It will have to be analysed, said one of the officials. Drivers of the transport utility have eight-hour shifts,which at times begin at 5 am and ends at 12:30 pm. The health check ups include eyesight,hearing,limb movement and mental health check ups.
Satish Kulkarni,joint managing director,PMPML,said,For new recruits,we hold medical fitness tests after their training is over. For drivers above the age of 55,we carry out tests for them as soon as they turn 55 and then annually. For the rest,tests are carried out if a person asks for frequent medical leaves,or applies for a special medical leave,which is a long-term leave. In the case of a staff member meeting with an accident (including workshop staff) while on duty,tests are also carried out to determine the period of leave to be sanctioned.
Asked why tests have not been carried out in the last two months,during which 10 drivers turned 55,he admitted that as PMPML has not been able to form its own board and the PMC has refused to conduct the tests,the drivers have been running the buses without the required medical certificates. We have been trying to form a board for a while now and have invited proposals from hospitals. But no consolidated proposal has been received from city hospitals. Also,the costs are working out to be higher than the amount incurred when the PMC medical board carries out the tests, added Kulkarni.
S T Pardeshi,chief medical officer,PMC,said,We had issued a notice to PMPML in March 2011,asking them to form their own medical board as theyre now a separate company. We had given them a six months to do this,which was over in September. However,we continued till December,but now it is difficult for us to carry on with these tests any longer. Our own staff strength is about 20,000 people.