ISLAMABAD :  Scores of transporters running Prime Minister Education Reforms Program buses awarded to government schools in the city on Thursday staged a protest on non-payment of salaries for the last 11 months.

The drivers and other staff running the buses gathered outside the Federal Directorate of Education and staged protest against the department for non-payment of their salaries.

Around 200 buses were awarded to educational institutions running under FDE, but the staff for buses was not hired by the FDE.

The FDE officials said that the department showed negligence as buses were awarded to the institutions, but there was no policy to hire regular staff to run the buses in schools.

Officials also said that initially the FDE had hired the drivers on contract basis, but contract was also not renewed due to non-allocation of funds.

Officials also said that later the FDE adopted a new policy and directed colleges to pay transport staff from the institutions funds.

However, the colleges also did not have sufficient funds to run the transport section and they demanded funds from the FDE.

Officials also added that the FDE and institutions came with another solution of arranging funds for the transport by charging students.

Officials said that charging fee for buses was in contradiction with the government’s policy of providing free education to students in the federal city.

Officials added that the FDE prepared the summary for hiring of the transport staff for 200 buses but it remained hanging in the balance as the FDE did not have sufficient funds to complete the process, while ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training also avoided searching solution to the problem.

“Earlier, the buses remained parked due to non-availability of staff and now the transport staff came on roads for nonpayment of salaries,” said an official.

The official said that there was no budget for the transport staff for the PMERP.

Transporters staff protesting at FDE locked the main gate of the education department and held severe sloganeering against government.

The transporters protesting against the FDE alleged that department had not taken serious measures to resolve their problems.

They said that the buses will remain anchored till payment of their dues. The transporters also urged the government to take serious notice of the issue as they were facing financial crises.

A driver, Anwar, said that the FDE and the education ministry were aware of the crises, but were not taking serious measures.

He said that now protest had been started and it would continue till the matter is resolved.