56-year-old Jai Kumar, one of the "medically unfit" drivers, said, "I along with all the 'medically unfit' drivers of the state have received a notice from the concerned authorities asking for our reply in the matter; we have asked for a high court copy of the order and have already sent our advocate to file an appeal. We will register a fresh case and not let our jobs be snatched away from us in the last few years of our jobs."
Kumar was on duty when a 12-wheeler truck crushed him and fractured his spinal cord and head. The accident left him with a weak eye sight which deemed medically unfit after which he started work at the diesel filling point in Sohrab gate bus depot.
"The managing director, UPSRTC, Lucknow, is directed to prepare a list of all its drivers in the state who have filed applications claiming they are medically unfit. The managing director shall constitute a committee to look after the compulsory retirement of all those drivers who are stated to be medically unfit and have completed more than the requisite number of years of service," read the Allahabad High Court order passed by Judge Pradeep Kumar Singh on July 15 this year on a petition filed by one Virendra Yadav.
In the backdrop of the HC order, on September 28, the MD of UPSRTC directed all the regional managers to prepare a list of "medically unfit" drivers and tell them to quit on a two-week notice.
"The drivers will get all the benefits that retired UPSRTC drivers get and will also be given a compensation amount. Under these instructions, each employee would be compensated in accordance with the tenure of his service already completed. For less than five years, 5-10 years, 10-15 years, 15-20 years and over 20 years of service, an employee will get wage of seven days, 15 days, 21 days, one month and two months respectively for every year of the remaining service," read the order issued by managing director K Ravindra Naik.
The order has created uproar among the drivers who had become unfit to drive due to accidents while on duty and have been serving the department as watchmen or postmen at bus depots and at diesel refilling centres.
Khalid Hussain uses a stick to help him walk with ease and will retire in another two years' time. Taken aback by the decision, Hussain, said, "None of us will sit back and will make sure that the matter is reconsidered by the court. How can anyone kick us from our jobs for something that happened accidentally to our physical being that too when we were on duty? I am hardly able to sit after the accident that I met in 2001 while I was on duty. Rather than being thankful for the service I did and compensating for the condition I am in, I am being told to leave. We are filing an appeal in Allahabad High Court and if nothing happens there, we will not think twice before visiting the Supreme Court."