Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Transport Minister R. Ashok said on Sunday that the State Government would initiate legal action to put an end to the menace of private operators plying buses on nationalised routes in the State.

Addressing presspersons on the sidelines of a function to launch Marcopolo bus service here, Mr. Ashok said that the previous governments did little to reserve the nationalised routes for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), and as a result, private operators were plying buses on nationalised routes, which was illegal.

Mr. Ashok said that the Transport Department had misled the governments in the past stating that the KSRTC had no powers to restrict the use of nationalised routes.

The Government would file an affidavit in the High Court to assert its rights and to seek a directive from the court to the department to ban movement of private buses on nationalised routes, the Minister said. The Transport Minister said that in some districts transport lobbies had become so powerful that they not only prevented the KSRTC from introducing city services, but also pressured the department not to issue new routes to it.

Referring to Mangalore and Udupi districts, the Minister said that the lobby was powerful in these districts. He said: “The KSRTC will be empowered to counter the tactics of the lobbies by introducing more services in city and express routes.”

He said that Mangalore would get its own city services on the lines of BMTC, including Vajra and Marcopolo services, on city and express routes between Mangalore and Udupi.

Directions had been issued to the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada, who is the head of the Regional Transport Authority, to prepare route maps, while the KSRTC had been asked to chalk-out schedules.

Inter-district passengers and city commuters in Dakshina Kannada were being harassed by private bus operators and the people were looking forward for better transport services.