Youth Congress workers on Wednesday staged a demonstration at the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus-stand at Bejai here demanding the immediate introduction of Volvo service between the city and Manipal.
Raising slogans against the KSRTC and the State Government, they prevented KSRTC buses from leaving the bus-stand for a while.
In a memorandum addressed to Minister for Transport R. Ashok, the activists alleged that the KSRTC, which is already in possession of six buses intended for the route, were delaying the introduction of services due to pressure from private bus operators.
Youth Congress district wing president Arun Coelho said in the memorandum: “People suspect that you have joined hands with private bus owners and are delaying the introduction of the service in the name of a formal inauguration.”
He urged the Minister to direct district in-charge J. Krishna Palemar to launch the service at once.
Pointing out that the buses had been procured at a tidy sum of Rs. 4 crore, he said that the KSRTC was losing about Rs. 1.5 lakh a day by keeping the buses idle.
Mr. Coelho also said that Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, during his recent trip to the city, had directed the KSRTC to start operations without waiting for a Minister to launch it formally. Alleging that the authorities were ignoring the direction of the Chief Minister, he said that the failure to introduce the service reflected the lack of commitment of the Government.
The Youth Congress leader said that they would intensify their agitation if the Government failed to introduce the service soon.
U.T. Khader, MLA, and the former Youth Congress president Bondala Jagannath Shetty participated in the agitation.
The KSRTC procured Volvo buses for the Mangalore-Udupi-Manipal service about a week ago.
KSRTC officials are reportedly waiting for Mr. Ashok, who is at present busy with the elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, to launch the service.
The Regional Transport Authority mooted the launch of the service recently, after a long legal battle involving private bus operators, who oppose the introduction of KSRTC buses on the route. People, on the other hand, are eagerly waiting for the launch of the service.