The Regional Transport Authority’s decision to make doors mandatory for buses operating in the district does not seem to have gone down well with the State government, which, at best, remains non-committal on the issue.
Transport Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said city buses had been given specific exemption from installing doors under the Kerala Motor Vehicles Act. A proposal with regard to amending the same has been under the consideration of the law department.
“Any decision with regard to fitting doors in buses should come with a legislative amendment or else, it may fail to yield the desired result,” he told The Hindu on Saturday.
While holding that the rules make it mandatory for only moffusil services to operate with doors, he said the State government was favourable to installing doors in all stage carriers operating in the State. “However, the bus operators will have to be taken into confidence before making any such decision and we will be holding a discussion with their representatives very soon,” the Minister said.
He, however, admitted that the absence of doors in buses was endangering the life of passengers and said that the government was committed to address the issue at the earliest.
The Minister’s observations come in the backdrop of District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam inking an order stipulating that all the stage carriage buses operating in the district, including city buses, should fit doors at the front and at the rear. As per the order, the bus operators have to either appoint two door-keepers, one at each door, or fix pneumatic doors. Bus operators have been given time till August 31 to comply with the order. The directive comes in the wake of accidents that have claimed five lives so far this year.
Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court had on Friday sought the government’s response on the introduction of pneumatic doors in buses based on a public interest writ petition filed by lawyer K.P. Ramachandran.
M.B. Sathyan, president of the Kerala Private Bus Operators Federation said Section 280 (2) of the KMVR clearly exempted city buses from installing doors and held that the RTA could not impose its decisions on bus operators unilaterally.