Hold talks to iron out issues at Kilambakkam bus terminus, HC tells T.N. government and private bus operators

Justice R.N. Manjula says all differences in operating the south-bound buses from  Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus can be resolved during the meeting, and the outcome must be informed to the court by Wednesday, February 7

February 01, 2024 09:25 pm | Updated 09:26 pm IST - CHENNAI

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU 30/01/2024: A view of the Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus in Kilambakkam on Monday.Photo: Velankanni Raj B/The Hindu

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU 30/01/2024: A view of the Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus in Kilambakkam on Monday.Photo: Velankanni Raj B/The Hindu | Photo Credit: B. VELANKANNI RAJ

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State government officials and representatives of private bus owners’ associations to hold talks on Saturday to iron out all the differences with respect to operating buses between Chennai and the southern districts of Tamil Nadu from the newly constructed Kilambakkam bus terminus, near Vandalur.

Justice R.N. Manjula issued the direction after Advocate General P.S. Raman agreed to a proposal submitted by senior counsel Vijay Narayan, representing bus operators YBM Travels and Vetri Travels, who had challenged certain restrictions imposed by the Transport Commissioner, that the private buses should be allowed to access their garages situated within Chennai city limits.

When Mr. Narayan insisted that the private buses should also be allowed to pick up and drop passengers while travelling between Kilambakkam and the city limits, the A-G said the issue could be ironed out during the talks between association representatives and government officials. The judge accepted the submission and wanted to know the outcome of the talks by , February 7, Wednesday.

She also made it clear that the talks need not be confined to the issue of allowing private buses to pick up and drop passengers in city limits and all other contentious issues between the government and bus operators could be resolved during the talks, since it was natural to have teething problems and some inconveniences after the inauguration of any new infrastructural facility.

The writ petitioners had challenged an order passed by the Transport Commissioner on January 24 insisting that all private buses bound to the southern districts must commence and terminate their operations at Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus (KCBT) in Kilambakkam, and they should not enter the Chennai city limits. The petitioners contended that such a prohibition could not be imposed on buses issued with national and State permits.

They also recalled that a similar prohibition was imposed when the Central Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT) was constructed in Koyambedu in 2002. However, a Division Bench of the High Court set aside the prohibition in 2003, and the Supreme Court dismissed the State government’s appeal against the High Court order in 2012. Therefore, a similar prohibition could not be imposed once again, they said.

On the other hand, the A-G told the court that the Kilambakkam bus terminus had much better facilities than the Koyambedu bus terminus, and the government had also arranged for frequent government bus transport between Koyambedu and Kilambakkam. He said all facilities, including a food court, sufficient bus bays, escalators, and vehicle parking area, had been constructed at KCBT.

He said the only inconvenience faced by passengers was that KCBT was about 30 km away from Koyambedu, and therefore, the government had addressed that issue by operating frequent city buses between the two destinations.

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