Chennai: Asking the government whether it wants to denationalise the public transport corporations, the Madras High court observed that though nationalisation policy was introduced in the interest of the people, the experience in our country proved to be otherwise. In 1969, the banks were nationalised by the then Prime Minister Mrs.Indira Gandhi enabling the Government to take control over the financial institutions, the Division Bench comprising Justice N.Kirubakaran and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy observed while allowing an appeal from S. Vani, wife of R. Shanmugam, who died in an accident.
Shanmugam, a senior manager in Voltas Limited was 41 when killed in an accident caused by a bus belonging to Metropolitan Transport Corpn. Ltd., on Rajaji Salai in February 2011. Motor Accident Claims Tribunal ordered a compensation of Rs 45.29 lakh. Enhancing the compensation to Rs 1.06 crore, the bench directed the transport corporation to deposit the amount, deducting any money paid already, within a period of eight weeks before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
The bench said the transport sector was also nationalised and as a result the buses belonging to individuals and companies were taken over by the Government to run on its own by incorporating Companies or Corporations so that the transport facilities are made available throughout the country without being driven by the profit motive.
The bench said though West Bengal was under communist rule for more than 25 years, the number of buses nationalised in Tamil Nadu is the highest. No doubt, buses of the transport Corporations serve not only the profit making routes but also the non-profit making interior rural areas also which cannot be expected from profit driven private transporters.
The 50 years of nationalisation of transport in Tamil Nadu may have given many benefits like providing employment to thousands of people in public undertaking, but finally it is found to be neither serving the people nor serving the economic interest of the Government.
Many of the public undertakings of the Central Government have been denationalised as the nationalisation of those undertakings are not fruitful in the long run due to various reasons. That apart, many drivers do not stop vehicles at bus stops, making commuters to run behind buses. Some of the drivers start the vehicles even before the passengers get into or get down from the buses endangering their safety. These are only a few deliberate negligent acts of the drivers.
The bench said, “When private bus operators are able to run the buses and able to make profit and multiply vehicles because of efficient handling of affairs, including the courteous behaviour of the crew towards the public, which is mainly lacking in public transport. This also results in people looking for owning their own vehicles for comfortable travel. The patronage of the public transport corporation is said to have come down for the various reasons including the reasons stated above.”
The bench has posed 25 questions to the government to file a reply. Among others the bench asked details of accidents caused by transport corporations for the past 10 years and the lives lost in such accidents.
The bench also posed a question to the State whether Government wants to denationalise the public transport
corporations. The bench has impleaded Secretary, Transport department, Chairman cum MD State Transport Corporation and all the Divisional Managers of all the divisions of Tamil Nadu State Corporations and issued notice to them posted the matter for further hearing to September 5, 2019.