PMPML has asked as many as 2,200 of its daily wagers to sit at home as the transport body doesn’t have enough funds to pay their wages. The daily wagers include widows and youth who were provided jobs on compassionate grounds after the death of their husbands or fathers, who were permanent employees of the transport undertaking.
“We have not removed them from service. We have asked them to sit at home. We have paid the salaries of our permanent employees for April. But we could not pay the contractual employees as we don’t have enough funds with us,” PMPML Chairperson and Managing Director Naina Gunde told The Indian Express.
Forty-year-old Hema Narwade, a widow, said, “I have been working for five years with PMPML… I got the job after my husband’s death. I get a salary of Rs 15,000 per month. I got the salary for March, but am yet to get the salary for April. I have been told not to work from this month. I have two young daughters to look after. The situation was already bad due to the lockdown… now, we will have to borrow money from relatives unless I am called back for the job by next month”.
Sangeeta Barne, a widow who lives in Thergaon area, said,”There are at least 50-60 widows who are living in poverty. We get a salary of less than Rs 15,000 and even that has not been paid to us for the month of April. We have been asked to sit at home from this month and have been told that we might not go back to work for months…,” she said.
S Bansode, who lives in Nehrunagar, said, “After PMPML failed to pay my salary, I have had to borrow money from my relatives but I will have to return the money… this month, they will wait, I don’t think they will wait next month. I am worried about what will happen…They have not even told us whether I will be taken back. As it is, it took them 12 years to give me a job on compassionate grounds,” she said.
PMPML spokesperson Subash Gaikwad said, “Nearly 2,200 daily wage earners, which includes widows, have been asked to asked to sit at home. Since PMPML is running a skeletal service, we don’t have much work. Our earning has come down Rs one lakh or so from Rs 1.50 crore daily. We are running in losses”. He added that talks are on with civic bodies for release of payment.
Pune Municipal Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad said,”Every month, we pay PMPML Rs 12 crore as per pre-decided terms. I will have to check whether we have paid them… so far. Generally, we pay them in the middle of the month.” He said while PMPML has been hit by the lockdown as most of its buses are off the roads, the PMC has also suffered as it has not received full GST reimbursement from the state government.
PCMC commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “Both PMC and PCMC fund PMPML. Since PMPML revenue generation has been affected, if it makes a request to the civic body, the PCMC will consider the demand”.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is the guardian minister for Pune district, said, “PMPML is a separate company funded by PMC and PCMC. Both should take care of the undertaking and its employees. I will seek information from both the commissioners.”
District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said,”I will issue a notice to all three bodies… PMPML, PMC and PCMC. They will have to ensure that none of the employees lose their jobs… and that they are paid their salaries as well.”
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