Special Correspondent

Deputy Commissioner to convene meeting to sort out issues

The DKBOA and the CBOA are together vying against the KSRTC Government will not allow illegalities to bog down the transport industry, says Minister

MANGALORE: The undivided district of Dakshina Kannada (including Udupi), which once had an efficient private transport system, is now facing problems with different associations vying for routes. The three key players are the Dakshina Kannada Bus Operators' Association (DKBOA) and the Canara Bus Operators' Association (CBOA) who are together vying against the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on one hand and the Contract Carriage Bus Operators' Association (CCBOA) on the other. Minister for Transport Cheluvaraya Swamy, who is also chairman of KSRTC, appears to be overwhelmed by the issues confronting the KSRTC. He is concerned about the private initiative in transport being gagged by the policy of allowing contract carriages to operate on the lines of stage carriages. Mr. Cheluvaraya Swamy, during a meeting with officials of the Transport Department in the district, attempted to understand the intricacies of the transport sector in the district. He said the Government will not allow illegalities to bog down the growth of the transport industry in "the most progressive district of Karnataka".

The Contract Carriage Act, which was repealed in 2003 by the S.M. Krishna Government, has opened up a new field for operators. The district which had been given a size of 52 schedules to operate as contract carriages in different routes was initially popular in the district, but the numbers stretched out to reach over 100 vehicles who started operating on stage carriage lines.

This had irked the DKBOA and KSRTC, and at that time the DKBOA and CBOA had appealed to the Government to allow "participatory operation" in private and government sectors like in the Tamil Nadu model. This model would have enabled the KSRTC to have 60 per cent of the kilometerage in the nationalised sector and the rest to the private sector. President of the CBOA, Rajavarma Ballal, (who is also president of the Karnataka State Bus Owners' Federation) told The Hindu that private operators had even offered to take up services in rural areas, while the KSRTC could concentrate on the highways and urban sectors. Had this model been introduced there would have been no competition in the transport sector in Dakshina Kannada, Mr. Ballal said.

However, that model never came into force, and KSRTC plunged into the competition by introducing the Suvarna Saarige . According to KSRTC sources, about 40 vehicles will be introduced shortly and 50 more will be introduced in phases.

The Deputy Commissioner, who is also Chairman of the Regional Transport Authority, has called for a meeting with transport operators on March 13 to sort out the issue.