Kochi: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and a private operator are indulged in a tug of war after the former started bus operations in the tourist route of Chalakudy-Malakkapara section, so far remained a monopoly of the latter.
This even as the KSRTC officials accuse the Athirapally panchayat of serving the interest of the private bus operator by suddenly asking its staff to vacate the panchayat room at Malakkapara earlier allocated to the RTC staff.
It all started with the KSRTC starting new bus services to Malakkapara via Athirapilly from Chalakudy on September 30, mainly to cater to tourists.
“Visitors can board the 8.10 am service from Chalakudy and reach Malakkapara by 11.45 am. They can visit the tourist spots and return to town by the service starting from Malakkapara at 5 pm,” said Zonal Traffic Officer V. M. Thajudeen Sahib.
However, the private buses resorted to a flash strike and an operator stopped one of its services that starting from Chalakudy at 1.20 pm in protest.
The KSRTC authorities then extended the bus service terminating at Athirapilly to Malakkapara to lessen hardship of commuters.
“It’s then that the Athirapilly panchayat suddenly asked us to vacate the room at Malakkappara. Our crew members were forced to spend their rest hours in the open,” the officer said. Athirapally panchayat president Tankamma Varghese could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Meanwhile, sources said the panchayat on Friday reversed its decision following public protest and reallocated the room for the KSRTC staff.