Pune: In between reaching destinations, bus and ambulance drivers deal with constant noise pollution, road rage and heat. For ambulance drivers, it intensifies with anxiety and tension to reach the hospitals in time. Hectic work hours also takes a toll of their health. Due to these reasons, many resort to several addictions like tobacco, alcohol etc.
Speaking about his day, on the condition of anonymity, an ambulance driver said that in a day, he at least travels for 60 kilometres.
“Every day, we cater to emergency patients. But we have to stay calm even if the clock is ticking. It requires a lot of patience. We also take bodies to people who break down in front of us and there is a sorrow everywhere. The feeling is heart wrecking. But we have to do this every day. It takes an emotional toll on us. To top all of these, the government does not pay us on time which creates financial stress,” said the driver.
Subhash Gaikwad, Public Relation Officer (PRO) with the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), said that drivers and conductors face stress every day at work. “We know that the condition of traffic in the city. In such cases, the drivers steer buses through traffic to reach on time. Though they work in two shifts, it is obvious that they face a lot of stress during work,” said Gaikwad.
He further added that the PMPML organises yoga and meditation camps in all its 13 depots.
“Around 3,500 drivers and around 2,000 conductors work with the PMPML. They work in two shifts and we indulge them in various activities to ensure that no employee suffers due to excessive work,” said Gaikwad.
Echoing similar sentiments, Srinivas Joshi, who was previously working as a divisional controller of MSRTC in Pune, said that under his leadership, two counsellors were appointed to address the issue.
“The drivers are responsible for the lives of the passengers. If we see that drivers are feeling irritated at work, they are given counselling. We have appointed two counsellors in Pune division. More than this, we also arrange annual health check up for them,” said Joshi.
Counselling for ST staff
After the 2012 incident in the city where ST bus driver Santosh Mane went on rampage killing nine people due to excessive stress, the State Transport department woke up to provide counselling sessions to its employees.