It is green signal from the Kerala High Court to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). The Kerala High Court on Friday gave the nod to the KSRTC to commence operation of 22 stage carriage services through Goshree bridge immediately. The court expressed its hope that KSRTC will avail of the grant permission to operate the buses soon.
Justice V Chitambaresh passed the order on the petition filed by Private Bus Operators Organisation and two others challenging the order of the Road Transport Authority (RTA). The RTA had granted regular permit to operate 22 Thiru Kochi buses by the KSRTC through the Goshree bridges. The petitioners contended that the decision was illegal. The decision of KSRTC to operate buses are not notified and it has not obtained any valid permit.
Rosy Arakkal, a native of Vypeen who impleaded herself in the case, submitted that the Vypeen Island is ill-served. The service of KSRTC through the island is a great relief to the commuters. More than four lakh people live in Vypeen and they resort to private bus and boat services to reach Ernakulam. The private buses from Vypeen to Kochi end their service at High Court Junction. Passengers travelling in these buses to other areas of Kochi have to board a second bus to reach the destination. Hence, the move is a solace for the islanders.
According to the RTA, a large number of people from the areas - Kodungalloor, Parur, Njarakkal and Vypeen - will benefit from the services since the route passes towards various points like Menaka, Thevara, Thopumpady, Edakkochi, Kaloor and Aluva. According to the rule, the private operator cannot claim for the extension of permits beyond High Court Junction. The RTA is prevented from issuing permits as per Motor Vehicle Act on nationalised routes. Hence KSRTC has come forward with good intention to resolve the travelling problem of the islanders. Since the city routes are notified routes for mofussil services covered with various schemes, KSRTC alone is entitled to avail of permits, the RTA submitted.
However, the petitioners submitted that about 165 stage carriages are operating in the Vypeen sector between Munambam-Ernakulam High Court Junction and Parur-Ernakulam HC junction.
The Court further held that the private bus operators are at liberty to apply for extension of the route to operate service to the city and the request should not be turned down on the basis of HC judgment which passed eight years ago.