KOCHI: The ongoing tussle between private bus operators and students has a fresh twist. Bus owners are alleging that unidentified students have defaced some of their vehicles by spray painting Christmas and New Year's greetings. The Private Bus Owners Federation (PBOF) has approached the city police commissioner, fearing that such incidents will only increase in the run-up to New Year's eve festivities.
"Students spray paint festive wishes, school and college names. We are already in trouble due to a dip in the daily collection. It takes `25,000 to repaint the buses. The buses rolled out after repainting were again defaced by students," said KB Suneer, secretary of the PBOF.Such incidents are likely to aggravate the stand-off between private bus owners and the student community.
"We raised the matter at a meeting held with the police commissioner on December 6. We hope the authorities will hold meetings with students and dissuade them from indulging in such anti-social activities. We also expect the school managements to help us," said Suneer.Following the request from bus owners, the city police passed on the information to schools and colleges.
"We contacted college and school authorities. They have assured that such activities will not happen in future. Some of the schools have given a strict warning to students, and circulars were issued in this regard. A circular asking students to refrain from such practices was read out at a school assembly," said a police officer.However, the police have ruled out the possibility of any clash between students and bus owners over the incident."We have given an assurance to the bus owners that such incidents will not happen again. We don't think the students are targeting the buses due to bus fare-related issues," added the police officer.