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Private bus operators give nod for road safety guidelines

R.Krishnamoorthy
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Ready for replacing ‘collection bata' system with standardised pay

Residents of Tiruchi staging a road roko protesting a rush hour accident which claimed the life of a vegetable vendor recently in the city.- Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam
Residents of Tiruchi staging a road roko protesting a rush hour accident which claimed the life of a vegetable vendor recently in the city.- Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam

Earlier this week, the public provided enough indication that they will not be mute spectators any more to fatal accidents involving private city buses.

The instant protest that the rush hour accident, which claimed the life of a vegetable vendor, triggered, soon led to a law and order problem, and traffic movement was disrupted for over an hour causing enormous discomfiture for students and office-goers.

While the driver was blamed for rash driving, the bus operators clarified later that it was due to a mechanical failure. Whatever be the case, a family had lost a bread winner.

According to C.Balasubramanian, honorary president, Tiruchi District Exnora, such accidents were caused due to non-adherence to time schedule by the private buses. He blamed the “reckless” situation on the system of ‘collection bata' being followed by the private operators, and consumption of tobacco by drivers. Mr.Balasubramanian called for speed restriction, and stern action against erring drivers.

The question now is who has to be blamed for such accidents.

Official authorities have placed the onus on the bus operators to ensure road safety. They were advised both by the city police and the district administration to scrap the system of ‘collection bata', and observe speed limits.

The District Collector, Jayashree Muralidharan, instructed them to maintain speed limits, and remove air horns and sound systems. She warned that drivers found using mobile phones while driving would be severely dealt with.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police–Crime and Traffic, S.Ramaiah, told The Hindu that he had, along with the Road Transport Officer, already identified roads that require varying speed regulations, and that after ratification of the same in the next Road Safety meeting, initiatives will be taken for gazette notification of speed specifications as per rules.

While extending its fullest cooperation, the Tiruchi Private Bus Operators' Association feels that that the tirade by sections of public and media is unjustified, and that its image has taken a beating. At its meeting on Thursday, the association agreed to replace the system of ‘bata' with standardised pay based on average collections. The association has also agreed to install speed governing devices and abide by the other requirements specified by the Collector.

“Though there is scarcity of drivers, we choose only those who have the right experience and the aptitude for the job,” said D.R. Dharmaraj, the association's secretary.

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