Saturday 26 September 2020

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Infrastructure | Transport

Goa reverses age-old public transport privatisation

 

While the whole nation is going for privatisation, Goa has decided to nationalise its age-old privatised public transport system in the state, in phases.

The cabinet has formally taken a decision in this regard. As a first step, the state-owned Kadamba transport corporation will take over major trunk routes between three prime towns of the tourist state.

It would end monopoly of the private bus operators over the public transport between the capital city of Panaji, commercial city of Margao and port town of Vasco. Around 100 private buses are running along these routes, besides the KTC buses.

"You should not run public utility service for profits. The quality of service then suffers", states K N S Nair, the state transport director. The irony however is that the authorities have realised it after the private bus lobby ruled the state for last 35 years.

Buses, the sole mode of public transport in Goa, has been a major headache for daily commuters here as the pre-liberation private bus service got hold over ruling politicians and started harassing with overcrowding and frequent tariff hikes.

While overcrowding still continues, not issuing tickets and gross under-utilisation of buses has forced the authorities to take over the prime routes, states Pratapsing Rane, the state chief minister. If it succeeds, he plans to nationalise the whole public transport in phases.

While paying compensation for cancellation of their five-year permits, the government has also given a proposal to the private bus operators to take their buses on lease to run on the same route, with the same driver, but with the KTC conductors.

The private bus owners' association however has strongly condemned the move and has threatened to launch state-wide agitation by paralysing the bus transport in the state. But the bus lobby here has lost political hold over ruling politicians, due to which the threats may fizzle out.


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