Staff Reporter

Officials will meet private bus owners’ association

Coimbatore: Officials from the Transport Department, led by the Regional Transport Officer, Pollachi, are scheduled to hold a meeting between Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation authorities and private bus owners’ association during the week to sort out the simmering differences over the departure timings for buses.

Trouble erupted on Saturday morning when the private bus crew and crew of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation clashed over not operating as per the time allotted to them.

It is learnt that a private bus to Udumalpet from Coimbatore reached Pollachi bus stand in the morning and was scheduled to leave immediately. Within three minutes another TNSTC bus was to leave on the same route. When the private bus did not leave on time , it is learnt that the TNSTC crew objected to this . The wordy duel soon escalated to exchange of blows and punches .

It is alleged that the private bus crew assaulted the driver and the conductor of a TNSTC bus with an iron rod and in the process driver sustained an injury on his head. TNSTC bus crew demanded that the private bus crew should be arrested. A police team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pollachi, P. Thangadurai arrested private bus drivers Gopinath and Balakrishnan and remanded them to custody.

This led to further trouble with the private crew, demanding their release, resorted to a flash protest both at Pollachi and Udumalpet on Saturday late evening parking their buses off the road.

The strike paralysed the public transportation system. Authorities led by Revenue Divisional Officer T. Anbazhagan and DSP Thangadurai held talks with the bus crew.

When the police said that since the assault had resulted in head injury a case had been registered and it was for the court to decide, the bus crew resorted to a road blockade in the night. The police removed over 50 protesters.

Following the development, the private bus owners stepped in and withdrew the road blockade agitation and the fifty of the crew removed by the police were released.

Private bus service resumed after nearly two hours of stand off. Revenue and police officials made it clear that two persons arrested for causing grievous hurt could not be released and the issue would have to be decided by the court.

However, the authorities said that the Transport Department, Revenue Department and the police would convene a meeting during the course of the week and try to come to a solution for the contentious issue of departure timings for the buses. Since the conflict of interest over the timings often led to skirmishes and confrontations among the private and TNSTC bus crew.