Rajahmundry: As road transport authorities unleashed whip on private bus operators for violation of a series of norms pertaining to road safety, a majority of
private buses remained off the road when the demand for such buses peaks during Sankranti festivities while RTC is making efforts to augment its fleet to cope with the demand in Godavari districts.
In the aftermath of Palem Volvo bus mishap, the road transport authorities have been carrying out a series of raids on private buses, including Volvos, plying for long distance travel. They found major violation among these buses to be running them as stage carriages while taking permit for contract carriage.
Other violations as per the norms of Motor Vehicle Act include: issuing tickets to the passengers through on-line and also through mobile as short service message, non-maintenance of list of passengers, not having second driver having valid licence, failure to keep fire extinguishers and hammers to break window panes during emergency, carrying commercial goods in the goods carriage in addition to goods belonging to passengers and failure to show a video clipping on safety norms before the commencement of the journey of the bus as a precautionary measure similar to the practice being adopted in aircraft.
In East Godavari, the RTA officials seized as many as 45 buses and produced them before the magistrate concerned. As the private bus operators are supposed to pay `3,750 per seat as tax every quarter for nearly 35 to 37 seats in a bus, some of them failed to pay the tax for the quarter beginning from January 1 for the reason that the RTA authorities are seizing their buses on the pretext of safety norms and they can no longer run their services for the quarter ending on March 31.
Such buses remained off the road despite peak demand for them mainly from Hyderabad to Godavari districts and vice versa before and after the Sankranti festival. East Godavari road transport deputy commissioner G. Krishnaiah said, “We are strictly enforcing all the safety norms as per provisions of MV Act. This resulted in several buses being seized. We will continue the same drive as safety of the passengers is our top priority.”
In West Godavari, the RTC authorities seized a whopping 105 buses so far and in the last two days, they seized 12 buses for violation of safety norms. Meanwhile, RTC is planning to enhance its fleet of buses as the demand for their buses is going up following curbs imposed on private buses.
East Godavari RTC regional manager G. Ramakanth said, “Though we planned to run 32 buses from several parts in the district to Hyderabad on Thursday, we have enhanced them to 38 by evening based on demand.”