Staff Correspondent

RTA urged to prevent the menace of unauthorised bus agents

Deputy Commissioner to issue temporary permits to KSRTC buses

Schoolchildren affected as KSRTC stops many of its services

Madikeri: Members representing various organisations in Kodagu on Tuesday accused private bus agents of indulging in hooliganism and obstructing the movement of KSRTC buses in the district.

The members, who met at Deputy Commissioner K.H. Ashwatha Narayana Gowda’s office here, demanded that action be taken against such agents. The KSRTC did not face any problems from private bus owners but from their agents, they said.

Vivek Poovaiah of the Movement for the Welfare of Community and Environment (MOWCE), who works in association with the KSRTC, said there were 90 private bus agents in Kodagu, but only a couple of them had licence.

Raghu Machaiah, president of the Kodagu Bus Prayanikara Hitarakshana Samiti, who endorsed Mr. Poovaiah’s views, said that steps should be initiated by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) to prevent the menace of unauthorised private bus agents. Schoolchildren, who had bus pass had been deprived of its benefit since many KSRTC buses had stopped plying owing to private bus agents’ threats, he alleged.

The Deputy Commissioner, who is also the Chairman of the RTA, said that he would look into the issue of stopping KSRTC buses for want of permits. He would issue temporary permits to them ply on the assigned routes within a week, he said.

The private bus owners’ association had alleged that many KSRTC buses were plying without permits. Mr. Gowda sought to know how could KSRTC buses ply in the monopoly areas in the district where private buses had exclusive rights to operate services?

Mr. Poovaiah said that there were over 45 applications pending with the RTO, seeking permits to operate bus services in the remote areas from KSRTC and private bus owners. Some applications were submitted two years ago. He and Mr. Machaiah accused a particular officer in the RTO of being responsible for the delay in issuing permits. If private buses could not operate schedules to remote areas, KSRTC should be allowed to run buses in those areas, Mr. Poovaiah said to which Mr. Gowda agreed.

Members of the Sarvajanika Hitarakshana Samiti from Virajpet taluk said that children had to walk long distances from their home to school in the absence of KSRTC services. One of them said the Hassan-Karmad line introduced 30 years ago had been stopped, causing hardship to commuters and students.

Mr. Poovaiah defended the timings allocated to KSRTC buses, stating that there was a 15-minute gap between private and KSRTC bus schedules in the district, except the Madikeri-Virajpet route where it was five minutes. Therefore, departure and arrival timings did not clash. Referring to parking of buses at the Gonicoppa bus stand, Mr. Poovaiah said the space should be shared on a 50-50 basis. Mr. Gowda replied that only four KSRTC buses were being parked at the stand in the past and the practice would continue. He said that he would discuss the issue with the RTO and the KSRTC Depot Manager here.