The recent announcement of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) that a new set of 15 premium buses would begin service in the city has been resented by the Kochi Corporation which feels that the KSRTC was keeping it in the dark about the project.

“No one in the KSRTC has bothered to inform the Kochi corporation about the new bus service and it was from the newspapers that I came to know about it,” said the Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams. Though the news of bus service had appeared in newspapers, the Kochi corporation has not yet received any formal communication from the KSRTC, which is highly objectionable, she said.

However, the KSRTC Managing Director T.P. Senkumar said that the KSRTC had communicated the decisions regarding the routes to all those concerned including the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project authorities. If the bus service has to be operated in the routes suggested by the Kochi Corporation, then it will have to pay for it. Otherwise, the Corporation can run the bus service on its own, Mr. Senkumar said.

Ms. Williams alleged that the KSRTC was sidelining the Kochi Corporation in the matters of the bus project. Though it was for the Kochi Corporation that the funds were allotted from the Jawaharlal Nehru National urban Renewal Mission , the KSRTC was implementing the project in a unilateral manner. The KSRTC didn't have the courtesy to acknowledge the role of the Kochi Corporation in the project, she said.

Even though the bus project is running profitably in Kochi, the KSRTC is not even unwilling to acknowledge it. The actions of the KSRTC can never be justified, she said.

The Corporation has also conveyed its willingness to run the bus service on its own to the Local Administration authorities if the KSRTC was finding the project economically unviable, she said.

Mr. Senkumar alleged that no one was willing to own up the responsibility for running the service. It was with great hardship that a bus is pressed into service. The KSRTC was operating the bus project within the ambit of the consensus reached earlier. In case of the non-AC low floor buses, the KSRTC has selected some routes, he said.

A.B. Sabu, the UDF leader in the Kochi Corporation blamed the civic administration for the situation. The KSRTC has hijacked the projects and the funds allotted to the Kochi corporation, he said. The civic body has no control over the funds or its utilisation and it has been reduced to the role of a mere spectator. The Opposition councillors had predicted the situation and had objected to the Kochi Corporation handing over the project to the KSRTC. The ineffective civic administration alone should be blamed for the situation, he said.

Keywords: Civic body

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