Chaos was witnessed at the Kadamaba Transport Corporation (KTC) bus stand in Margao on Wednesday, as private bus operators stopped plying their buses and blocked the KTC bus stand exit by parking the buses there protesting against motor vehicle inspectors’ action of challaning the buses.
As a result, commuters were largely inconvenienced for almost two hours as none of the other buses could move out of the bus stand.
It may be noted that ‘The Navhind Times’ had recently highlighted the issue of drivers and conductors plying overcrowded buses, a day after a student got flung out of a moving bus at Navelim. The student had sustained injuries as a result of the fall.
The protesting drivers and conductors were on Wednesday seen shouting slogans against the transport department and the regional transport office (RTO). They claimed that the motor vehicle inspectors issued challans to 43 buses entering the bus stand. The situation was brought under control after police arrived at the site and started clearing the bus stand by assuring the bus operators of a meeting with deputy director of transport Prakash Kholkar to resolve the issue. Some operators later met Kholkar in the presence of cops resulting in normalcy being restored at the bus stand.
“We are harassed by the RTO. Nearly 43 buses were challaned early morning at the bus stand today simply because the motor vehicle inspectors want to achieve a target of issuing 100 challans a month per motor vehicle inspector. The target is arrived at by the director of transport. We demand that the RTO explain to us why they are after us for no reason,” fumed Manuel Rodrigues, president of the Private Bus Owners Association.
Questioning the RTO as to why only the private bus operators are harassed with challans while the KTC buses are let off, another bus operator Karim Sayyad said, “We do not have the money to pay these challans. The RTO demands hefty amount to provide us with fitness certificate and if we do not pay, we are harassed. Insurance, passenger tax, etc eats into our business. The government has also failed to provide us with scheme money. What to do?
When attempts by the policemen failed to prevail upon the bus drivers to clear the bus stand exit by moving away their buses, Margao police inspector C L Patil asked his driver to start one bus and move it into an open space. Though initially the bus operators hesitated to meet Kholkar, police, however, later convinced them to do so. Kholkar asked the operators to submit their grievances to him in writing so that he could forward them to his seniors. “This is our regular check. The violations are that the drivers and conductors do not wear uniform and the buses remain overcrowded. We acted based on the complaints we received,” Kholkar said.
Source:: The Navhind Times