Striking employees of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) were evicted from the Vallabhnagar bus depot in Pimpri Chinchwad by police on Thursday, the third day of their strike. State transport workers had gone on strike from Monday midnight to demand the implementation of wages recommended in the 7th Pay Commission. On Wednesday, District Collector Sourabh Rao had warned about taking strict action, to evict striking employees from the depots in order to allow private buses to operate from them.
Confirming the police action, Srinivas Joshi, divisional controller of MSRTC Pune, said, “Unlike other depots, the one in Vallabhnagar had a larger number of outstation employees, so we had to seek help from law enforcers”.
Pravin Mohite, president of the Maharashtra ST labour union’s Pimpri Chinchwad unit, said about 350 MSRTC employees were forcefully evicted from the restroom at Vallabhnagar depot on Thursday. Slamming the police action, he said, “The majority of those who were evicted are from distant places like Marathwada, Vidharbha and Konkan. They had come with their buses and since October 16, they have been camping here”.
Because of the police action, the evicted MSRTC employees now face safety concerns, claimed Mohite. “The conductors are carrying their cash boxes… where will they go now,” he asked.
The striking employees have sent a written request to the district collector, highlighting their problems. Local political leaders have also started helping out by providing food for the striking employees. Mohite said the strike would continue till the government accepted their demand for a pay revision. “I have been serving the transport body for 27 years, but my salary is not even Rs 27,000… we deserve to be treated fairly,” he said.