With less than 24 hours left to the deadline for installing speed governors, the private bus operators in the district will have to go on an overdrive to fit the equipment in their buses to avoid penal action.
The Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) has laid down guidelines for installing speed governors. Speed governor should be sealed on both ends while the manufacturer should also issue a certificate stating that the machine is calibrated to a speed limit of 60 km/hr. On satisfying these conditions, the MVD puts an additional seal to prevent tampering.
Going by the number of private buses found to have installed speed governors satisfactorily in a drive launched by the MVD across the district on Sunday, majority of buses will have to stay off the roads when the deadline expires on October 2. Of the 100-odd private buses within Ernakulam Regional Transport Office (RTO) limits that were inspected on Sunday, only 21 were found to have installed speed governors in compliance with these guidelines. Only 16 buses were cleared within the limits of three sub RTOs under the Ernakulam RTO.
While nine buses had been fitted with speed governors in compliance with guidelines in North Paravur sub RTO limits, seven were cleared in Tripunithura sub RTO limits. Not a single bus turned up for the inspection in Aluva sub RTO limits satisfied the conditions.
In Muvattupuzha RTO limits, 14 private buses were found to have fitted speed governors satisfactorily whereas not a single bus was cleared in the Perumbavur and Kothamangalam sub RTO limits. Premnath V, Joint RTO, Perumbavur, said while 50-odd buses were inspected, the operators failed to produce the calibration certificates.
Manufacturers of speed governors and their service centres were also finding it hard to meet the heavy demand, MVD sources said.
Ernakulam RTO B.J. Antony said there would be no leniency against private buses after the deadline. Penal measures, including cancellation of fitness certificate, will be invoked against buses at fault, he said.
State president of the Kerala Private Bus Operators Federation M.B. Satyan claimed 90 per cent of buses had been fitted with speed governors. “We were told about the need to seal speed governors only on Sunday. Besides, how can we be held accountable for something that was the responsibility of the manufacturers,” he said.
Mr. Satyan also accused the MVD of neither having the equipment nor the knowhow to put the additional seal on speed governors. He said that as against the claim that only 30 minutes were needed to fit speed governors, it took about two to three hours to get the existing equipment repaired or to install a fresh one. Mr. Satyan also complained of having only limited facilities to fit or repair speed governors in the district.