Transport department conducts raids across State, seizes records
Most private operators are brazenly operating bus services to different destinations without adhering to the prescribed norms. This violation came to light during the surprise raids conducted by the officials of Transport department at the 98 branches of private tours and travels in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy district, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati on Monday. The exercise was taken up in the wake of the recent ghastly road accident near Sholapur that left 30 dead and 17 injured.
Special teams led by Additional Transport Commissioner P. Srinivas carried out the raids and seized records from the offices. The officials were surprised to see that travel agents too were continuing their business with expired licences. They have to renew licence every three years, but none of them adhered to it.
What rules say
Rules stipulate that the operators have to maintain separate register for each bus to provide the details of every trip, bus and driver. They should maintain passengers’ list both at the office and in the bus. But the operators turned a deaf ear to these norms.
The Transport department officials faced problems in getting the passengers’ list after Sree Kaleswari bus met with an accident near Sholapur on Saturday. The staff of Sree Kaleswari Tours and Travels at Lakdi-ka-pul asked authorities to collect the list from 40 travel agents who sold the tickets. “We sent officials to all the 40 agents’ offices and collected the list. It took almost four hours to get the details. It’s really a pathetic situation,” authorities maintained.
Mr. Srinivas said stern action would be initiated against the errant owners after discussing the issue with the government. “The exercise would also enable us to streamline the operations,” he explained. Authorities said there were over 600 branches across the State and the raids would continue at all the places in the next few days. Plans have also been drawn to check fitness of the private vehicles plying in the State.
On the question of why the Transport department officials did not find these violations before the raids, no official was willing to go on record with an explanation. They do agree in private conversations that there indeed was laxity on part of the officials.
“The Sholapur accident is an eye-opener and at least now we will ensure that all rules are followed by the private operators,” they say.