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SPTC localises bus maintenance, recruits new mechanics from India

The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) has said it is bringing in a new batch of 16 diesel engine mechanics from India as the company also enhances its localisation programme for bus maintenance.

The managing director of SPTC, Mr Daniel Gappy, said that SPTC had over the past two years pursued a localisation programme to encourage its staff to take up training in bus maintenance.

In line with the programme, SPTC has also awarded contracts to two local contractors to maintain its TATA buses.

SPTC's TATA buses were since 1993 being maintained by Indian-based Techno International Services (TIS), a division of Unitech Automobiles Pty Ltd authorised by TATA for the maintenance and services of its products. TIS' contract expired last month and according to Mr Gappy, the company felt that it would be more cost-effective to get its own staff to take over the operation, but currently he said, SPTC had very few mechanics specialised in diesel engine. The company will, by July 15, employ a new batch of specialised mechanics from India on a two-year contract, with the aim of providing more training to its staff.

Mr Gappy said the localisation programme was being done in different phases and this included the gradual reduction in the number of buses TIS was maintaining as well as a subsequent reduction in their workforce, which initially stood at just over 30 technicians. By last year TIS was maintaining 70 buses out of a fleet of 185. The rest of the buses were being maintained by the local contractors and SPTC mechanics.

As SPTC began the full implementation of its localisation programme for the maintenance of the TATA buses, Mr Gappy said he expected the services to continue smoothly with no disruption.

In line with its plan to train more staff to look after its TATA buses, the company has forged ties with the Industrial Training Centre (ITC) whereby every semester trainee technicians are being sent on attachment at SPTC. Mr Gappy mentioned that once they successfully completed their two-year course, the trainees could be absorbed by the company. SPTC currently has 56 technical staff working in various sectors.

Meanwhile, a communiqué from TIS has said the company was satisfied with its operation here for the past nine years and with the important role it had played in SPTC's  localisation programme.

Noting that SPTC staff was now ready to take over the operation, the communiqué stated that "TIS has played a very important role in the localisation programme of SPTC by imparting training to the staff of the local contractors, introducing various systems and sharing various repair methods."

During its nine-year operation here, TIS said it had been able to consistently ensure a near 100% on road fleet utilisation of the buses and helped save foreign exchange by introducing innovative methods such as modifying and rendering serviceable existing stock of parts available at SPTC.

Mr Gappy said from what the company had observed, the local contractors were also operating at the same standard as TIS. He expressed  confidence that the technical experience and methods imparted would be put to good use as SPTC trained its new breed of specialised technicians.

 

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