Wednesday 11 December 2019

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Infrastructure | Transport

Govt. threatens to cancel private bus permits

 

The six-day old bus operators' strike took a serious turn today with Goa government threatening to cancel permits of all the striking private bus operators, comprising 70 per cent of the state's public transport.

Chief minister Pratapsing Rane today announced in the Assembly to deal firmly with the private bus operators, who kept off the road even after its president declared withdrawal of the strike on Saturday. In protest, the president resigned from the bus owners' association.

The issue has now taken a political turn with Rane holding South Goa MP Churchill Alemao, the United Goans Democratic Party supremo, for instigating the private bus operators to continue the strike, holding public at ransom.

The private bus operators had resorted to strike since Wednesday, in protest of government allowing mini buses of state-funded Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) over the Zuari bridge, which is closed for heavy traffic, fearing collapse of the bridge.

The KTC, which is presently in doldrums due to gross mismanagement and rampant corruption, runs only 30 per cent buses of state's total requirement while half of its buses are always found in broken condition. The public thus primarily depends upon buses run by private operators.

In protest of government's dilly-dallying over private bus operators' frequent strikes, the opposition had staged a walk out on Friday, demanding nationalisation of public transport. Transport minister Subhash Shirodkar has now assured to nationalise it in a phased manner.

As the strike continued despite successful negotiations held on Saturday, the government today cancelled permits of around 100 private buses, while chief minister Pratapsing Rane has threatened to cancel all the permits if buses are not brought on road by tomorrow.

Besides importing buses from the Karnataka and Maharashtra governments, buses belonging to government colleges and several departments are also now pressed into service to tackle the situation.

But as one third of Goa's population travels every day from villages to the cities by bus with no other mode of public transport available in the tiny tourist state, how the situation would be tackled if the strike continues, is yet to be seen.






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