Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy has said as many as 750 new buses would be purchased by the North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation in the current financial year.
Addressing a public gathering after laying the foundation stone for the new city bus terminal, built at a cost of Rs. 14.21 crore in an area of 34 guntas, the Minister promised to take steps to stop the use of old buses by the NWKRTC and NEKRTC. Mr. Reddy said he was aware of the shortage of staff in the NWKRTC. The government had permitted to fill the vacancies. “We will be filling up 782 various posts this financial year,” he said.
The bus stations in Bagalkot and Gadag would be upgraded at a cost of Rs. 8 crore and Rs. 5 crore respectively, he said.
A hi-tech bus station would be built in Belgaum at a cost of Rs. 30 crore. In all, upgradation works of bus stations worth Rs. 57 crore were being taken up and Rs. 14.99 crore had been sanctioned for providing various facilities at 23 bus depots under the corporation, he said.
Mr. Reddy said he had spoken to the Chief Minister on the need for providing additional assistance to both the transport corporations.
N.H. Konaraddi, Navalgund MLA, and Pralhad Joshi, MP, underscored the need for upgrading the bus stations in the region.
Mr. Joshi pointed out that even though the foundation was laid for the new CBT building, the works had failed to begin. “At least after the revised project, work should begin soon after the foundation stone was laid,” he said.
Referring to an unclear picture about the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) proposed between Hubli and Dharwad, Mr. Joshi said suggestions made by the elected representatives had been ignored. Minister for Infrastructure and Information and District in-charge Santosh Lad said there were several contentious issues concerning the BRTS project and there were allegations about the alignment being changed to help a few influential people.
Mr. Lad urged the Minister to hold a meeting of all elected representatives and officials concerned and find a solution in the interest of the people of the twin cities.
Prasad Abbayya, MLA, underscored the need for providing stalls in the new building to shopkeepers who were earlier operating on the Old CBT premises.
He stressed the need for providing a bus shelter to railway passengers at the new Hubli railway station.
Meanwhile, Mr. Reddy said that in the wake of complaints about the way the BRTS was being implemented, he would convene a meeting of all elected representatives shortly.
To a query, he said the land acquisition process would be carried out as per the plan.
To another query, Mr. Reddy said for strengthening security, the Transport Department was taking steps to install CCTV cameras in all bus stations, beginning with Bangalore.
He said that steps would be taken to curb the menace of private buses misusing permits issued under the contract carriage. To overcome competition, intercity services were being planned in 28 cities and several of them had already received good response.
Mr. Reddy said a drivers’ training institute was being set up in Dharwad at a cost of Rs. 7 crore and an electric driving track on RTO office premises at Rayapur at a cost of Rs. 4 crore.