Punjab Govt Holds Transport Policy, Private Buses With Illegal Permits Having Free Run

Chandigarh: As per the media reports even after the change of government in the state the private buses with illegal route extension permits  provided by previous  Badal-BJP government continue to enjoy their free run causing loss of revenue to the state exchequer.

During his election campaign earlier this year Amarinder Singh often made tall claims in which he stated that if voted to power the daily income of the state-run Punjab Roadways and the PRTC will increase, and further claimed to act against prevailing transport mafia that has  infested the state transportation department by introducing renewed transport policy.

”With a fleet of over 1,000 buses, the average daily income of the PRTC stands at Rs 1.05 crore, We had anticipated a rise in the daily income by around 10 per cent,” reads a statement of a transport official published in an English vernacular.

“The Punjab Roadways is no better. The henchmen of private transporters are collecting ‘gooda’ tax as usual. There is no difference with the change in government,” said Makhan Singh Chairman, Punjab Roadways Employees Union (Azad) in his statement to  media.

File Photo.

The arbitrary bus running schedule, incorporated during the previous SAD-BJP government to facilitate certain private transporters, is still continuing as the new transport policy is yet to be announced. Enquiries reveal that a majority of the timetables were approved last in 2013.

Claiming that the government is holding back the renewed transport policy a government functionary on the condition of anonymity reportedly said “The government is sitting on the transport policy which is benefiting the private transporters. The policy will ensure that the schedule to run buses is reworked as per the approved ratio.”

While the Advocate-General (AG) is still in the process of legally vetting the new transport policy, there is no word so far on the cancellation of the illegal route extensions. At least 5,000 extensions were granted prior to 2011 by the then Badal-BJP government.

Cancelling these extensions against 1,400 permits/licences in wake of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court could mean stalling the operations of the transport companies, owned by top Congress and Badal Dal leaders, running buses on the monopoly routes, reports The Tribune (TT).

As most of the officials of Regional Transport Authority (RTA) and District Transport Office (DTO) were appointed during the Badal-BJP government, so a concrete drive against the henchmen of private transporters who till date continue to collect “fee” from operators to pick passengers from high-passenger volume locations in Amritsar, Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana or Bathinda,  cannot be expected.

“Fair play should come in the transport business to end mafia rule. A transparent timetable should be prepared to end illegal route extensions,” said Jasvinder Singh Grewal, general secretary of the Punjab Small-Scale District Bus Operator Association.

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