BMTC conductor attempts suicide over harassment

BMTC conductor attempts suicide over harassment

More than a hundred BMTC bus drivers and conductors staged a protest in front of the BMTC depot in Agara after a conductor attempted suicide by consuming poison on Thursday, alleging harassment by senior officers.

According to the police, the victim Prakash Gowda, 51, a native of Gadag and resident of Sarjapura Road, had served in the BMTC as a conductor for 22 years. Recently, he fell ill and had taken 11 days leave.

As he was admitted to hospital, he asked his son to submit a leave letter at the depot, but the authority concerned did not sanction leave. Gowda reported for duty on December 2 and submitted the leave letter to the depot manager who asked him to meet the divisional controller to get the leave sanctioned.

On Thursday, Gowda met the divisional controller who directed him to meet another senior officer. Gowda walked to the gate and consumed poison. A driver noticed him falling down and frothing at the mouth and rushed him to Victoria Hospital. He was shifted from there to a private hospital, where he is undergoing treatment, said the police.

On hearing about the incident, BMTC drivers and conductors stormed the depot and staged a protest alleging constant harassment by senior officers. The police, who were informed about the trouble, rushed to the spot and pacified the crowd, promising to take up the matter with senior officials.

Gowda’s wife also joined the protest and alleged that her husband, despite serving BMTC for so many years, was being harassed for leave.

A senior police officer said, “As of now, no one has lodged a police complaint. If anyone is willing to register a complaint, then we will investigate the matter. Gowda is undergoing treatment and his statement will be recorded once he recovers.”

BMTC sources said the conductor was on leave for seven days. “If it is a 3-4 day leave, then no questions are asked. But even after seven days, if an employee doesn’t turn up, a routine procedure is followed, wherein an absent report is filed with the divisional controller.

“In Gowda’s case, too, normal procedure was followed and an absent report filed with the senior authority. We heard he was upset that such a report was filed. We don’t know what other problems he had, but he is supposed to have attempted suicide in response to the procedure followed,” he added.

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