Puducherry

Tamil Nadu bus breaches conditions, stops in Puducherry to pick up passengers

Passengers jostling with each other to get a seat on a TNSTC bus bound for Chidambaram, in Puducherry on Wednesday

Passengers jostling with each other to get a seat on a TNSTC bus bound for Chidambaram, in Puducherry on Wednesday   | Photo Credit: S.S. KUMAR

A Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus, proceeding to Chidambaram in Cuddalore district, stopped at the bus terminal in Puducherry, which is against the norms, an official said

The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) is allegedly breaching the conditions under which intra-State buses should operate from one point in Tamil Nadu to another, passing through the Union Territory of Puducherry during the lockdown.

According to the conditions, the buses can operate from one district in Tamil Nadu to other districts passing through the UT as point-to-point services, but without stoppages in Puducherry. No passenger should be allowed to board and alight between the source and destination, within the jurisdiction of Puducherry.

But there was one instance of a TNSTC bus proceeding to Chidambaram in Cuddalore district stopping at the bus terminal in Puducherry to pick up passengers.

A senior Transport Department official said that the bus crew had not followed the norms under which intra-State buses should operate. “With neighbouring Villupuram and Cuddalore districts classified as Red Zones, there is a possibility of people spreading the infection. The Department will conduct immediate checking to prevent TNSTC buses stopping in Puducherry and the police have been directed to take action,” the official said.

Official sources said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its latest guidelines, had directed the States to take a decision on operating inter-State services with the consent of neighbouring States.

The Puducherry government had issued oral instructions to neighbouring districts not to operate inter-state services until further orders. However, the guidelines are yet to come and this has led to confusion.

Passengers elbowed each other to get a seat in the bus that was bound to Chidambaram. Passengers were also seated close to each other without adhering to physical distancing.

When contacted, an official in Villupuram said they were operating services only within the respective zones categorised by the Tamil Nadu government.

TNSTC has been operating three services to Puducherry for transportation of doctors and health workers in Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) and two other medical colleges.

He claimed that TNSTC was yet to resume inter-state services to Puducherry and denied that passengers were travelling in the bus. The bus was a special service for government employees and passengers could have boarded the vehicle by mistake. The conductor would have asked them to get down from the bus, he added.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 10:12:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/tamil-nadu-bus-breaches-conditions-stops-in-puducherry-to-pick-up-passengers/article31737630.ece

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