GUWAHATI CITY

‘Pay or we’ll keep buses off the roads’

ASTC employees fire warning shot

GUWAHATI, May 16: The State Transport Workers’ Association (STWA) has fired a warning shot at Dispur asking it to release ASTC employees’ salaries within a week or they would be compelled to keep the fleet buses that have the emblem of rhino etched on them off the roads.

Addressing the media on the problems afflicting the ASTC, association general secretary Dwijen Lahkar said: “We haven’t got the salaries of March and April, 2018. If our salaries aren’t released within a week we’ll be compelled to stop the plying of ASTC buses. We had talks with various quarters to get the problem solved, but to no avail as yet. If the ASTC’s Managing Director is efficient enough, what has made the department appoint as many as four advisers in the Corporation? ”

Bringing a serious allegation against the present dispensation at Dispur, Lahkar said: “Dispur is conspiring to hand over 740 bighas of ASTC land to outside traders. Rs 37 crore of employees’ PF premia has not been deposited as yet. We did get salaries during the Congress regime, that too, as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. However, now we’re not getting our salaries regularly, let alone as per recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission. Employees who retired since 2016 are yet to get any retirement benefits.” Sounding an alert against State Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Lahkar said: “He’s an inefficient minister. We doubt he has kept the Chief Minister dark on ASTC. We appeal to the Chief Minister to do something tangible to keep the buses with the emblem of rhino etched on them plying.”

Earlier in the day, all ASTC employees gheraoed the MD and asked him as to when they would get their salaries.
Talking to the media earlier, ASTC MD AP Tiwari said: “We face problems in releasing salaries in the first few months of every financial year because of the lengthy process of budgetary allocations. ASTC has been ailing for years. With the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations the revenue-expenditure gap has widened. ASTC is being run with two components – revenue and financial support from the State Government.”