BENGALURU: Following Arunachal Pradesh Transport Department’s direction seeking cancellation of registration of tourist buses plying in other states, many private bus operators in Karnataka are now under the scanner.
In a letter dated June 6, Arunachal Pradesh Transport Commissioner B Siram asked all the district transport officers to cancel the registrations of all tourist buses and sleeper coaches which are registered in that state but are operating in other states, including Karnataka, in violation of rules.
Sources say a large number of sleeper-coach luxury buses operating in Karnataka have registrations of states like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Odisha and Puducherry since permits for these buses are hard to get in the state. They also evade the steep road tax in Karnataka, which is highest in India.
Experts, however, say that most of the buses registered in the Northeastern states ply without proper fitness certificates, putting the lives of passengers at risk.There are also several touts in Bengaluru who give registration and fitness certificates without even taking the vehicle to the Northeast states. Karnataka transport department does not have any mechanism to check if documents are genuine.
Some private operators are planning to move the High Court seeking a stay on the order. A private bus operator plying between Bengaluru and Hyderabad said: “There is a huge demand for sleeper-coach buses. But most states including Karnataka neither give permits to customised sleeper-coach luxury buses nor reduce road taxes. So, we are forced to get buses registered in the Northeast. Cancellation of permits of tourist buses registered in Arunachal Pradesh will cause inconvenience to the passengers.”
States like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have already cracked down on illegal buses that were registered in Arunachal Pradesh.