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The NTC in the heart of debates

26 Avril 2011 - Défi Media Group

The NTC in the heart of debates

The financial chaos of the Nation Trasnpot Company (NTC) has been debated in "Le Grand Journal" hosted by Karishma Beeharee. Employee unions were represented by Wakill Lalloo and Deepak Benydin. The direction of the NTC has declined the invitation but finally its chairman of the Board of Directors, Ashwin Dookun, spoke by phone.

"How a company making a profit of Rs 44 million in 2008 may face two years after a deficit of Rs 66 million?”.

For Wakill Lalloo, the chief negotiator of the Union of Bus Industry (UBIW): "there is no other answer than financial mismanagement of the parastatal company." Hence his fierce opposition to what the Government grants him a new financial assistance of Rs 112 million.

He firmly believes that it is the management and not the working poor who are to blame. To support its argument, the union points out that, like other companies, the NTC has received a substantial increase in the prices of bus tickets.

He also cited the payroll of the NTC, which showed a decline consistent with a drastic decrease in the number of its employees. From 3000, a few years ago, it drops to 2,500 people.

For Wakill Lalloo, this drastic reduction represents a saving consistently for the company because it is the equivalent of 500 monthly wage remaining in its coffers.

The main negotiator UBIW maintains its request for a commission of inquiry into the NTC for several reasons. Besides bankruptcy announcement, he points his finger at some largesse from the company. It cites the General Manager's salary, car and expenses of the President of the Board of Directors and the new headquarters of the NTC at a cost of Rs 150 million, Ebony and he calls the "white elephant”.

According to the union, is all the largesse that contributed to the financial failure of the NTC.

Wakill Lalloo denounces the fact that we withdraw from parts of old buses to bring them on others. What he says is endangering the lives of passengers and other road users.

The union leader also blamed the incompetence of management in the purchase of buses. He argues that, logically, a company must buy its buses batch because after a few years it will renew its entire fleet at once. "Quite the contrary, the NTC has done!" He protested.  He argues that the company has acquired a hundred buses at the same time and end up with several buses down to the garage.

Wakill Lalloo also points the finger at the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Transport inside, Anil Bachoo, has always refused to meet union leaders to discuss all the issues he raised.

Mismanagement

The president of the Federation of Parastatal Bodies and Other Unions (FPBOU), Deepak Benydin, is on the same wavelength as Wakill Lalloo. "There was mismanagement at the NTC. He argues that if degreasing, we must begin with top management.” He said that he had always protested against the appointment of political appointees at the head of the parastatal bodies. "We need competent people to head these organizations," he says.

The union also objected to the fact that politicians often use these organizations to place political agents. Hence his desire for recruitment in parastatal body will do through a Parastatal Bodies Committee.

He disagrees with the idea that unprofitable routes are a major cause of financial difficulties of the NTC. He drew attention to the fact that all bus companies operate on profitable and unprofitable routes. He argues that he does not understand how some roads are not profitable because the buses that serve them are always crowded.

Deepak Benydin wants to shed light on all investments of the NTC. Commenting on the restructuring exercise is under way, he speaks of hidden agenda to privatize the bus company.

For its part, Lalloo Wakill satisfied that the application of a bus fare increase will encourage more illegal operators at the expense of bus.

To support his arguments, he argues that illegal operators still practice more competitive prices than the bus. This explains why this mode of transport is increasingly popular with the public. He fears that an increase in bus ticket to go further penalize the NTC. He hoped that the authorities take more drastic measures against illegal operators. "The use of bus thousands of employees depend on it!" He exclaims.

The union leader also warned the NTC to withdraw from certain roads.

Speaking in the debate, the Chairman of the Board Dookun Ashwin said he would have preferred "the presence of two company employees on the board and not two persons, he said, know nothing of its operation."

However, it agrees with Wakill Lalloo that talks about mismanagement within the NTC. However, he denies that there were profits of Rs 42 million. "There was a surplus, not profits," he says.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NTC has been very severe against former management. "When you are in debt dating from the 80s and you're talking about profit, it's mismanagement!”. He also criticized the previous management for certain decisions, including the fact that it drew its capital budget to finance the construction of its headquarters in Ebony.

Ashwin Dookun has also not been kind to both unionists. He refuted their allegations that the NTC will be privatized or that there would be a cleaning staff. He was accused of demagoguery.

 

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