BHUBANESWAR: Despite opposition from bus operators, the State Government is set to make safety measures like installation of CCTV cameras and GPS monitoring of vehicles mandatory along with stricter regulation of stage carriage permits and routes.
The Transport Department, which issued a draft notification for incorporation of CCTV cameras and GPS systems in buses in April, has rejected the objections raised by All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association (AOPBA), Private Bus Owners’ Association of Puri and one Debabrata Patnaik and decided to go ahead with the proposed measures. The draft rules would be formally notified for implementation soon.
The proposal to make CCTVs and GPS systems in the buses has been opposed by the operators on the ground that it was not feasible and might lead to harassment by Department officials. They also argued that it was beyond the power of the State Government to amend the rules of Motor Vehicle Act.
The AOPBA in its objection had stated that installation of CCTV and GPS in stage carriages would cost `20,000 per vehicle besides the expenditure on maintenance of the equipment. They have also stated that the GPS monitoring would give a handle to Motor Vehicle Inspectors to impose penalties as there is no central time table for any route. Under the pro posed rules, every State carrier permit holder shall install CCTV and GPS in the vehicle duly certified by Regional Transport Officer (RTO). The owner should also ensure that the equipment are always in functional condition. The Transport Department rejected the objections stating that proposed amendment is within the rule making powers of the State Government. The new rules are aimed at ensuring safety and security of passengers travelling in buses. The amendment is in line of the recommendations of National Commission for Women.
Stage carriage permits are issued with specific route and timing for vehicles and any deviation will entail penal action under MV Act, 1988. In a number of cases, it has been found that buses were not operating on given route and timing. Apprehensions, thus, cannot be a ground for withdrawing the measure which is in public interest, Transport Commissioner CS Kumar contended.
The Department has, however, agreed to consider the objection to police verification report on antecedents of driver, conductor and helper employed in the vehicle separately. “The bus owner will though have to intimate the State Transport authority (STA) and regional transport officer (RTO) online before engaging driver, conductor and other staff for their vehicles.