Rath Yatra in Odisha: STA warns against overcharging passengers

Special emphasis will be given to increase the number of buses from Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to Puri.
Odisha Rath Yatra
Odisha Rath Yatra(Photo | Debadatta Mallick)

BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to ensure devotees do not face hassles while travelling to Puri for the Rath Yatra festival, the State Transport Authority (STA) has cautioned buses and other commercial vehicles against overcharging the passengers.

The STA warned that action will be initiated against bus owners and staff found to be overcharging the passengers. The department has also cautioned auto-rickshaws and other vehicles carrying passengers from Malatipatpur or Talabania to Bada Danda to not overcharge.

Puri RTO and district police will monitor fares charged by buses and other passenger vehicles very closely, said Transport Commissioner-cum-Chairman of State Transport Authority, Amitabh Thakur. Police assistance will also be provided at bus stops to ensure passengers do not have to face any sort of harassment, he said.

Thakur held a coordination meeting with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials, police and representatives of bus owners’ association to ensure people visiting Puri during Rath Yatra get best transport services.

The authority also said that like previous years, it will give special permits to buses travelling on other routes and allow them to ferry passengers to the temple town. Buses plying on other routes will be allowed to carry passengers and travel to Puri on Rath Yatra, Bahuda Yatra and Suna Besha.

Special permits will be issued for buses from other routes to Puri. Interested operators can apply for permits which will be approved through a single window system at STA headquarters. The buses receiving special permits will be exempted from paying the fee at toll gates. The STA has requested NHAI to take necessary steps in this regard, said Thakur.

Special emphasis will be given to increase the number of buses from Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to Puri. Buses will be equipped with first aid kits and STA will provide ORS packets for the passengers to combat dehydration.

Temporary rest sheds will be set up at bus stops and district administration will make arrangements for food and water for the passengers boarding and de-boarding the buses there. Dedicated teams will monitor facilities at bus stands in Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other cities. A 24-hour control room will also be set up in Puri by the RTO to assist the people visiting the town to attend the Rath Yatra festivities, said the STA.

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