Responsibilities Shunned

safe.jpg “Employment and death casualties go hand in hand.”

Ever heard or thought about that???The oxymoronic statement entails an ominous ringing when we come to terms with a growing menace to the society: of road rage. The persistently occurring and steadily growing incidents of fatal accidents occurring in the capital by BPO cab crashes are appalling and hazardous to the extent that moving out from home in the morning one cannot be sure whether the bread and butter providing means will become the cause of the death.

Half a decade ago when the wave of the call center culture hit the Indian shore, it was hardly envisioned that by far the largest recruiting sector of the nation could pose such a menacing threat to the society!

Yes, you gauged it right. I am talking about the killer accidents which have become trite in the streets of Delhi these days. Recently, on a Saturday morning, a TATA SUMO crashed into a group of people at a tea stall near Lado Sarai , killing one and injuring six others. With the killer run of the call center cabs getting worse; it becomes imperative though traumatic when one looks at the intricacies of the sensitive issue.

The drivers hired by the call centers are sometimes inadequately trained; but the onus of the mishaps cannot be indiscriminately attributed to them. To optimize the efficiency of the drivers, they are asked to be on the continuous run to pick up and drop call center employees from their residences all through the night. Since working in international call centers calls for working at night or amny nights together; it becomes imperative for the companies to provide transportation facilities for their employees. Consequently, the nocturnalism asks for a huge taxation for the untrained diurnal routines of the drivers with the effect that adequate sleeping hours becomes a far-fetched dream and a ‘luxury’ they cannot afford.. Thus, these people try and utilize the miniscule time slices of 20 – odd minutes to sneak in a quick nap; as and when possible.

With just a meager earning of 5000 bucks a month; the drivers are already the penalized lot and under constant scrutiny; be it from the cab hiring agency or the company concerned or the employees whom they are serving. The intimacy of the profession is even inhuman when it’s realized that for the indiscipline, non-punctuality and un-professionalism of the employees; drivers have to suffer on their already tight schedule; and thus pay a fine amounting to 900-1000 Rupees a month.

However, as is evident; there is no glossing over the facts that are necessary here to understand the bigger picture. Coupled with the idiosyncratic hassles, there is also the lack of sense of responsibility amongst the drivers who are often found in drunken state or deliberately engaging in rash driving. So, the icing on the cake perfectly sets the stage for the already smart companies to shun off their responsibilities and take stands. The entire issue finally ends up in a futile pillar to post running of the victims.

Already the Blueline buses road rage massacre has been stirring a lot of hue and cry in the nation amongst people and authorities since the last few months; the new avatar of this menace is cannot be handled with undue patience bordering complacence.

The BPOs form an indispensable part of the country’s rising economy and denudating rate of unemployment; but the rose has entailed its own thorns; which need to be grafted at the earliest. Liberalizing the working hours and the number of recurrent shifts of a driver per day (to be precise ‘nights’) can lead to better performance for the drivers and act as positive reinforcements for them at the same time. Getting the reins of the employees tightened and proper selection of properly trained drivers can go a long way in ensuring safety and minimizing the bane of the profession.

It’s rightly quoted that the losses from a delayed decision can never be retrieved. Thus, procrastination becomes the act of keeping up with yesterday. The need of the hour is taking some timely decisions and their implementation.

What is required is to hit the iron since it is hot and ready to be re-moulded.

Arpita Chakraborty