Sans regular jobs, STS DRMs stare at bleak future

Report by: 
EOI BUREAU
Port Blair
10 Jan 2017
Facing official apathy for the past several years, more than 300 employees of  the State Transport Department now stare at a bleak future. Having served the government agency for more than 10 years, STS bus drivers and conductors were anticipating regularisation of their services in the department. But their dreams shattered recently when the Transport Department invited online applications for filling up vacancies, but accorded no preference or age-relaxation to the daily rated workers who served the department with due diligence for more than a decade. Even repeated pleas by the casual workers and demands by almost every political party here have fallen on deaf  ears.
According to reports, the State Transport Department has a pool of around 169 bus conductors and 170 bus drivers engaged on daily rated basis. Almost all of them have served the department for more than 10 years without any break in service. Many of  them  have now crossed the prescribed age-limit for government  jobs and lack of government attention will drive many families into despair. The STS Department recently invited online applications for filling up 49 posts of bus drivers and 54 bus conductors. However, the agency did not pay any heed to the pleas of the workforce to grant age-relaxation for employees who have served the department for many years without break.  
“Though appointed on daily rated basis, majority of them  have served the Transport Department devotedly for the past more than a decade without any complaints from any authorities. We toiled round the clock amid punishing schedules to provide the best of services to the passengers. As DRMs whose contracts were extended from time without any break, we expected that the department will one day absorb us by regularising our services against available vacancies. But 2016 came as a shock to us. Many of us are suddenly on the verge of becoming jobless. Of   the total sanctioned posts of conductors and drivers, the department initiated an open recruitment drive to fill up 103 vacancies. Ignoring years of services rendered by the DRMs, the department granted no age relaxation for the daily wage workers who have cross the age limit for government jobs. Even our requests for regularisation of  jobs on the basis of seniority list of DRMs have proved futile. We’ve knocked the doors of almost every authority in the local administration, but to no avail. We hope that the Lt. Governor intervenes in the matter and issues necessary instructions to the department to consider the case of regularisation of services of the existing DRMs,” said some STS bus conductors engaged on daily rated basis requesting anonymity.
The State Transport Service with more than 270 buses in its fleet and provides services at almost every part in these islands. Established in the year 1956, the State Transport Service operates from 11 Units spread all over A & N Islands with its headquarters at Port Blair. The outstations STS units are located at Diglipur, Mayabunder, Rangat, Baratang, Ferrergunj, Havelock, Neil Island, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Katchal and Campbell Bay.