Strict Action against Curtailing Services
By Express News Service | Published: 21st January 2014 12:54 PM |
Despite the row over private buses curtailing services in the city, Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has justified the action of extending the routes of as many as 12 out of the 110-odd private buses operating in the city.
“Stringent measures will be taken against those vehicles which curtail trips and a penalty will be imposed on them after preparing a check report. A firm directive has been given to the operators to complete their services properly,” the Minister said in a written statement answering a question raised by V M Oommen in the Assembly on Monday.
Private operators were given permits to conduct services within the city limits in 1995. Then, keeping in mind the traffic congestion in East Fort, the operators were directed to extend their services and end them on the outskirts of the city.
However, the private operators, as years passed, chose to confine their services only within the city. In December 2013, the Vigilance Officer of KSRTC sent a letter to the Transport Commissioner Rishiraj Singh pointing out that Thiruvananthapuram is the only city in the state where there is no mechanism to monitor private buses.
He also sought the restoration of the two checking points at East Fort that used to monitor the private stage carriers along with two more points at Vellayambalam and Pattom.
When the two checking points in the north and south sub-divisions of the Traffic Police were functional, KSRTC had marked an increase of up to Rs 4 lakh in the daily collection of city depots.
The major reason pointed out for the lack of monitoring private operators is the shortage of officials. Earlier, there were seven squads constituted with officials from KSRTC, Kerala Police and the Motor Vehicles Department that had been functioning effectively in bridling the illegal public transport vehicles in the city. But a shortage of Assistant Motor Vehicle inspectors has hit the functioning of this system.
To the question whether the government or the KSRTC could make any benefit out of extending the routes of private buses, the Minister said that the government has received an amount of Rs 1 lakh each as fees for the 20 cases filed in this regard in the state. However, he admitted that this has adversely affected the revenue of KSRTC buses.