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KSRTC may lose monopoly in State

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi, Oct 28, 2014, DHNS : 1:16 IST
Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and other state-run road transport corporations (BMTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC) in Karnataka will face tough competition from private bus operators if the Centre goes ahead with proposal to permit private owners to operate buses on all routes in entire country without any restriction.

As per the proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill 2014, the state will not have any power to declare any bus route nationalised by allowing only state road transport undertaking buses to ply on such routes.

Further, the State government will not have any control over these road transport corporations as they will come under “Motor Vehicle Regulation and Road Safety Authority of India,” a new independent body proposed in the Bill. The Authority will decide on fare hike, rationalisation in functioning of the corporations and interstate permit for plying buses.

This means, the road transport undertakings in Karnataka will lose their monopoly over plying buses in the State. At present in Karnataka, 70 per cent bus routes are nationalised - being operated by State road transport undertakings - while private operators are allowed to ply buses on remaining 30 per cent routes in 17 districts including Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, and Mandya, mostly shorter routes.

Private buses are allowed to ply on some of the nationalised buses with stage carriage or contract carriage permit. The stage carriage buses are allowed to carry passengers from one destination to another and not permitted to pick up carry passengers en route. Contract carriage buses obtained on hire.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy opposed the proposed bill when it was placed before the National Road Safety Council and Transport Development Council meeting chaired by Union Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari here on Tuesday.

Before allowing to set up the Road Safety Authority and allowing private bus operators to ply buses on nationalised routes, the Centre must take steps to protect the interest of state road transport corporations, Reddy said.

Even Tamil Nadu and Kerala Transport Ministers also expressed a similar view. However, Gadkari said he will go head with the bill and it will be introduced in winter session of Parliament.

Claiming that the road transport corporations in Karnataka were providing efficient services in remotest places of the State, Reddy said that out of the 55 state transport corporations in the country only those of Karnataka, Bangalore and Maharashtra were making profit.

With over 1.5 lakh employees working in Karnataka state road transport undertakings that have a fleet of more than 25,000 buses, the Centre must take steps to protect interest of the undertakings, Reddy said.

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