Private buses will be off the road from Monday across the State as organisations of bus owners have called for a strike in protest against a drive to enforce use of speed governors on stage carriers.
On Sunday, the Motor Vehicles Department cancelled the fitness certificates of another 260 stage carriers for removing the speed governor mandatory on board or tampering with the gadget to make it ineffective. On Saturday, 309 stage carriers were stripped of the certificates across Kerala.
K.A. Makkarkunju, president, Kerala State Private Bus Operators’ Federation, said that representatives of various bus owners’ organisations from the State met here on Sunday and issued the strike call. “The government must specify the workshops where speed governors can be fitted, since the gadgets made by a few brands and fitted at regional workshops often malfunction,” he said.
Suresh Oommen, secretary, Kerala Bus Transport Association Ernakulam district unit, blamed bad roads and widespread corruption in issuing heavy-vehicle driving licence for the spate of fatal bus accidents in the State. “Most drivers are not qualified for the job. This is apart from the fact that drivers work over 12 hours at a stretch, which takes a toll on their physical and mental health. It is tough to find drivers to introduce two shifts. Moreover, the Motor Vehicles Department must reissue time schedules since the last time this was done was 25 years ago,” he said.
In the district, officials inspected 96 buses on Sunday and suspended the fitness certificate of 7 which did not have speed governors. “Four other buses were issued notice, since they did not abide by fitness norms,” said Jeby Cherian, Motor Vehicle Inspector, who coordinated enforcement drive in the district.