Bengal bus operators call for march to state transport department office on February 29

The organisations are attempting to protest against the retirement of 15-year-old buses. 'Our buses were mostly off the roads due to the covid situation and lockdown during a greater phase of 2020-2022', one of the organisations said.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 07:24 IST

Kolkata: Five bus operators organisations in West Bengal have called for a march to the state transport department office in the city on February 29 to demand that the tenure of stage carriages, which are set to cross the 15-year time frame this year, be extended by another two years.

The five organisations – Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, WB Bus & Minibus Owners’ Association, Bengal Bus Syndicate, Mini Bus Operators Coordination Committee, Inter & (And) Intra Region Bus Association – in a joint letter to Transport minister Snehasis Chakraborty and Transport Secretary urged them to grant an "audience amid their hectic schedule".

"We demand extension of life of buses and minibuses for two more years after 15 years as our buses were mostly off the roads due to the covid situation and lockdown during a greater phase of 2020-2022 and both employees and owners went through serious financial crisis," Tapan Bandyopadhyay of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate said on Wednesday.

The five transporter bodies have floated a platform 'Gana Paribahan Banchao Committee' (save public transport committee) to press for the issue and lobby with the government.

Bandyopadhyay said more than 60 per cent of the 3,000 buses currently plying in the city and its neighbouring districts and around 300 minibuses will be off the roads from July 2024 if the 15-year deadline for commercial vehicles, set by the Calcutta High Court in 2009, comes into effect.

"Even two-three years back 7,500-8,000 buses and 1,500 minibuses used to ply in the city," he said.

"We don't have the wherewithal to cough up Rs 32-35 lakh to buy new vehicles with Bharat Stage 6 emission norms ...", he said.

A transport official said the department does not have the mandate to increase the tenure of 15-year-old buses by two years going against the court order.

He said the government is not against the bus operators but cannot go against the law.

(Published 22 February 2024, 07:24 IST)

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