RTO failure to act at heart of Majestic mess

RTO failure to act at heart of Majestic mess

Rules ignored: It is illegal to operate private buses within 500 metres of the Kempegowda Bus Station. DH file photo

Once the sun sets, all rules are swallowed in by the darkness at Majestic. Private buses line up in front of the Kempegowda Bus Station, blocking traffic and creating congestion. The gross negligence of the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the Transport Department towards a damning report by Upa Lokayukta along with their inability to enforce the orders prohibiting private operations in the area has contributed to this mess.

“Everyone knows the cause of the problem in Majestic. The whole system has turned a blind eye towards the illegal operation of private buses within 500 metres of the Kempegowda Bus Station (KBS),” a senior official said. 

Sources in the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Limited (KSRTC) say they have written to the Transport Department several times seeking intervention in this regard.

Responding to a DH report on the government’s half-hearted approach to decongest Majestic area, the official said every time the issue crops up the main issue is ignored.

Read also: Plan to unclog Majestic fails; KSRTC buses back

Apart from creating congestion in the area, it is also affecting KSRTC’s business. Officials estimate that KSRTC bears an annual loss of more than Rs 500 crore.

The prohibition of private buses came into effect on December 4, 2015, with the Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner restricting their operation within 500 metres radius of KBS periphery. For satellite bus stations in Kengeri, Shanthi Nagar, Peenya and Anekal, the restricted area was reduced to 300 metres.

‘Hand in glove’

Last year, the Upa Lokayukta in its report said, “The Transport Department officers/officials have failed to check the illegal operation of these vehicles, which are operating in utter contravention of the condition of the permits”.

The Upa Lokayukta observed that contract carriage vehicles are regularly being used as stage carriages by carrying individually picked up passengers and goods other than personal luggage of passengers violating several permit conditions. “Officials are acting hand in glove with these permit holders,” the report said.

The traffic police said the inspection of permits comes under the RTO and only they can ensure smooth flow of traffic.

‘Invisible hands’

Sources in the Transport Department said “invisible hands” control the entire system and prevent any action against permit holders.

“There has never been any serious attempt to clear the mess in Majestic. Some permits are canceled as an eyewash. But even repeated offenders get new permits,”  the source said.

The newly-appointed Transport Commissioner, V P Ikkeri, could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.