Junked, 1K Tamil Nadu govt buses may be off road    

While sources told TNIE that bus services have been cancelled at several depots, transport officials are tight-lipped about the number of services affected across TN.
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)
For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: At least 1,000 buses operated by state transport corporations may have gone off roads in Chennai, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Salem, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil and a few other districts since Sunday as the deadline fixed by the union government to scrap government vehicles that are more than 15 years old expired on April 1. 

Though the state government sought three years more to junk the old vehicles, the union government has cancelled the registration certificates (RC) of nearly 3,200 government vehicles, including 1,600 government buses, throughout the state. 

While sources told TNIE that bus services have been cancelled at several depots, transport officials are tight-lipped about the number of services affected across TN. Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) officials, however, said buses are being operated as per the schedule and no bus service has been cancelled in Chennai. Parivahan portal, the official master database for vehicle management, has been displaying the numbers of deregistered old vehicles since Saturday. 

In view of the April 1 deadline, and after requests from MTC and six other Tamil Nadu government transport undertakings, the state transport commissioner wrote to the union government last month explaining the challenges involved in scrapping 15-year-old government buses.

Automatic testing stations in 18 RTOs

The transport corporations have stressed that the decision to scrap such buses will lead to the cancellation of services to rural areas as most of the old buses are being used for ordinary services. Also, the financial position of transport undertakings that are already reeling under a severe fund crunch will deteriorate further. Procurement of new buses has been delayed due to the Covid-19 lockdown and there are also pending litigations in the Madras High Court.

Therefore, three years more must be given to us to phase out old buses, the transport undertakings had said. Similarly, the state health department too had sought relaxation of time for scrapping non-emergency, over-aged vehicles. At least 1,686 vehicles maintained by the Tamil Nadu motor vehicles maintenance department too have been found to be in use for more than 15 years.

Vehicles belonging to 31 government departments too got deregistered, sources said. The union government, however, has extended the deadline for setting up automatic testing stations for issuing fitness certificates for heavy vehicles from April 1 to October 1 next year. Meanwhile, the state transport department said automatic testing stations for checking the fitness of vehicles will be established at 18 RTOs in PPP mode.

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