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Transport officials hire sand lorry drivers to operate TNSTC buses in Tiruchy

On the second day of the strike, transport officials reportedly forced sand lorry drivers to operate TNSTC services offering a daily wage of Rs 250 and assured to give them priority in sand quarries.

Transport officials hire sand lorry drivers to operate TNSTC buses in Tiruchy
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Sand lorry drivers being taken to bus depots in Tiruchy

Thiruchirapalli

Officials resorted to such a move as temporary drivers were found not up to the mark and owing to pressure from their higher-ups. The officials thus decided to ‘hire’ sand lorry drivers, who have been waiting for days for their turn to fill load at Kondayampettai quarry in Tiruchy. On Tuesday morning, transport officials went to the Kondayampettai sand quarry and asked the sand lorry drivers to operate government buses. Later, they were taken to some depots in the district. 

“We selected drivers who had heavy vehicle driving license,” said a senior transport official. 

The district administration had pasted a notice on the notice boards in all the depots inviting drivers and conductors to come with their license and ration cards to operate the government buses.

“This is unfair and the lorry drivers are known for rash driving and never adhere to traffic regulation. Such a practice should be stopped immediately,” said H Ghouse Baig, activist and secretary, Golden Rock branch of the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu. 

Meanwhile, sand lorry owners’ association Sella Rasamani, president of the Tamil Nadu Sand Lorry Owners Association, petitioned the Chief Engineer M Palani Kumar, Chief Engineer of the Water Resources Department of Tiruchy Region that they should not be held responsible for any untoward incident when the sand lorry drivers operate the government buses. 

Meanwhile in Coimbatore, TNSTC officials hire temporary drivers to tackle the strike crisis. But technical staff shortage posed a threat as most of the buses required frequent repair and maintenance. At Erode, protesting TNSTC staff and retired persons resorted to a begging protest. Protests were also organised at Salem and at Tiruchengode in Namakkal district.

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