Continuation of public transport facility at an affordable cost in Kancheepuram town hangs in balance as nothing tangible emerged at the meeting of officials and public transport service providers held here on Tuesday.
The Revenue Divisional Officer, Kancheepuram, R.Veerappan, who chaired the meeting, told The Hindu that it was decided that “status quo” in the issue – whether mini-vans could be allowed to operate within the town limit or not – would be maintained till June 24 where another round of talks would be held. At present, mini-vans are not allowed to ply as “stage carriers” within the town limit.
Main parties to the current issue – diesel autorickshaw, petrol autorickshaw and mini-van operators – were directed to arrive at a consensus among themselves on how they were going to accommodate the interests of others for co-existence, before turning up for the next meeting.
Meanwhile, enquiries revealed that one among the three government agencies - the Revenue Department, the Regional Transport Office and Police - was reported to have made its position clear at the meeting that it would strictly implement the rules and initiate action against violators of permit conditions, provided the other two agencies concur with them so that it did not get isolated and projected as a “villain” in the eyes of general public, craving for round the clock public transport facility at an affordable cost.
Hitherto Rs.5 is charged for short distance travel within the town and even to extended areas in some routes in diesel autorickshaws, share-autos and mini-vans.
Though the share-autos alone were permitted to be operated as “stage carriers” with a cap on number of persons to be carried, the other two service providers were also operating their vehicles as “stage carriers.”
At present, diesel autorickshaws were being operated on five routes in the town, which were officially designated for their operation when a similar issue cropped between them and petrol-driven autorickshaw service providers in the past.
When the share auto service made its entry into public transport domain, petrol and diesel autorickshaw service providers came together and ensured that the new service was restricted to two routes only.
Clash of interest cropped up again a year ago when mini-vans forayed into public transport domain and hence the present impasse, sources pointed out.