Several unions with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) have come out against a petition filed by the Palakkad-based Bus Passengers Association secretary M Abdul Kareem challenging the decision of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation to purchase 12 multi-axle Volvo buses for operating inter-state services.
The Kerala State Transport Workers Union has alleged that the petition was filed to protect the private bus lobby especially in the Malabar region. A V Francis, state secretary of the Kerala State Road Transport Workers Union said that this is the first time that the KSRTC had decided to purchase multi-axle Volvo buses for running inter-state services.
“Twelve such buses have been booked by the KSRTC for conducting services on the Kerala-Karnataka routes. If multi-axle buses are introduced, it will increase the existing seat capacity. Also, it is safer. A private bus lobby is working to ensure that these services are not launched in Kerala,” he said. He added that the move is being made on the pretext of safety issues.
“Two such multi-axle buses operating in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had caught fire in recent months. However, that does not mean that the buses are unsafe. The private bus operators have converted old bodies of several buses and are currently operating them as stage carriages for inter-state services, which is illegal. It is high time the authorities opened their eyes to catch the real culprits,” the members with the unions said.
The unions also rubbished the claims that the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation did not opt for competitive tender prior to booking the buses.
“There is no need to float competitive tenders as the KSRTC purchases only Volvo buses. No other company produces these body types. So there is no need for such tenders to be called,” they said.