TRS MLA’s charge against Diwakar Travels takes serious turn

The ongoing war of words between Telangana Rashtra Samiti legislator V. Srinivas Goud on the ‘illicit’ operations by Diwakar Travels, owned by family members of TDP MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy, took a serious turn on Tuesday with Tadpatri MLA and Mr. Reddy’s brother J.C. Prabhakar Reddy coming forward to participate in an open debate with the TRS MLA.

High drama was witnessed at the RTA office here with Mr. Srinivas Goud, accompanied with his supporters including representatives of the TSRTC Transport Mazdoor Union, waited for the arrival of Mr. Prabhakar Reddy at the Transport Commissioner’s block claiming that he had valid proofs of the violations by Diwakar Travels.

Mr. Prabhakar Reddy indeed arrived at the venue, but was whisked away by the police before entering the RTA office.

Mr. Prabhakar Reddy was taken into preventive custody as the police sensed trouble if the MLA was allowed inside as tempers on both the sides were running high, a senior police official present at the venue said.

Mr. Srinivas Goud had been alleging that private travel operators who obtained permission for stage/contract carriages were conducting illicit operations by transporting passengers to different destinations in Telangana.

The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation was incurring losses to the tune of Rs. 1 crore every day on account of illicit operations by private operators who were plying 2,500 services every day.

In addition, there were incidents where the buses operated by the TSRTC to different destinations in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh were not allowed on to the platforms in bus stations at Vijayawada, Guntur and other major cities.

Mr. Goud expressed concern over the accidents and the number of casualties because of these operations by the private operators citing the bus operated by a private operator which was gutted near Palem in Mahbubnagar district claiming around 45 lives.

“The bus is owned by Diwakar Travels. Though they claim that it was sold to another private operator, there is discrepancy in the claim of transfer of ownership going by the documentary evidence,” he said asserting curbing operations by these private operators, albeit in phases, was the only way to strengthen the State-owned TSRTC and make it financially independent.

Mr. Prabhakar Reddy, however, refuted the charges of illicit operations claiming that there was no truth in the allegations made by Mr. Srinivas Goud. The Diwakar Travels was operating its buses after obtaining the requisite permits and it was paying all the taxes promptly.

“I am prepared for a debate as we are operating the buses with necessary permits,” he asserted.

Mr. Prabhakar Reddy alleged that Mr. Goud was casting aspersions on Diwakar Travels at the behest of another private travels operator and said that he was prepared to meet the TRS MLA to hold discussions on the operations.

He refuted the charge that buses owned by the TSRTC were not being allowed inside the bus stations in Andhra Pradesh.

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