Chennai: About 400 bus drivers and conductors at Vadapalani bus depot went on a strike for nearly three hours on Tuesday morning owing to irregular water supply. The loss to the department is estimated to be Rs 3 lakh approximately.
“There are about 300 out station workers who sleep in MTC restrooms and start their day from here. It has been more than a week since water supply was disrupted in the washrooms making it impossible for them to start the trips. So, we started the strike at 4 am and 202 buses were halted till the regional manager assured us of water supply at 7 am,” said one of the bus drivers at the depot.
The workers heaved a sigh of relief when a metro water lorry filled the tank at the depot at 11 am and drinking water was also released. Yet, they say water is impure and like “all the time”, their parched throats would be satiated only for a day or two.
Despite installing a Reverse Osmosis (RO) purifier two years ago following workers’ woes, water is supplied not more than four times a month, they allege.
While the existing well has completely gone dry, another well, 400 feet deep is being constructed inside the depot to supply water to washrooms under construction at the bus terminus. But, officials say they can also use some water and this would reduce the issue to an extent.
K. Anbazhagan, joint secretary, Nethaji Transport Union, said, “When the workers do not come for a day due to the issue, a memo is issued subjecting them to penalty. Now that the branch manager is at fault and a huge amount of money is involved, will the branch manager be asked to pay back? Moreover, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recently wrote to all the departments to ensure adequate water supply.”
Six other bus depots devoid of water
In case of water shortage, MTC water lorry usually goes from Ayanavaram to Vyasarpadi pumping station to supply water to depots. But, six bus depots have not been supplied water for last three days.
- Thiruvika Nagar
- Indian Coach Factory (ICF)
- Periyar Nagar