Aug 10, 2012 at 01:22pm IST

Bangalore: Time to check BMTC staff's health?

Bangalore: With four accidents involving drivers suffering from serious ailments in the past one year, is it high time for a public transport organisation like the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to consider compulsory health check-ups for its staff?

A BMTC driver suffered an epileptic attack while on duty near Kempegowda Bus Stand (KBS) on Wednesday. He slammed the bus into a tree and luckily the passengers escaped unhurt. This is the fourth such recorded case in the past one year.

In August last year, a BMTC driver named Nandish had suffered an epileptic attack and had mowed down two pedestrians at N R Colony. After this case, another epileptic bus driver had crashed into a utensil shop in Jayanagar 9th Block and died on the spot.

Bangalore: Time to check BMTC staff's health?

With four accidents involving drivers suffering from serious ailments in the past one year, is it about time.

According to officials, the BMTC drivers, who are charged with the responsibility of safely ferrying the passengers are not made to undergo any compulsory regular health check-ups. BMTC, instead, depends on its drivers to come forward with any health related issues they might have.

The officials said that 30-40 hospitals in the city regularly conduct health screening camps for staff at the depots, but it is purely optional. “We only test them compulsorily for vision strength. For other problems, they must come forward and take the treatment,” said an official attached to Personnel Department of BMTC.

BMTC is providing a medical reimbursement up to Rs 7-8 crore every year and there was no reason for employees to hide their ailments. “There is no policy about mandatory health check-ups for all staff. It is not feasible financially since it involves a huge cost,” he added.

‘Make medical tests mandatory’

In the meantime, experts, however, are of the view that the absence of compulsory check-ups are a recipe for disaster. “It is absolutely wrong. Medical tests like an ECHO and a stress test are required even before appointment of the driver and also regularly afterwards. Depending on their age and other symptoms, they must also undergo Coronary Angiogram,” cardiologist G B Sattur said. He added that such regular compulsory check ups could be made optional for the conductors but has to be implemented for drivers. “In fact, the government must pass laws making such check-ups compulsory,” he observed.