Mangalore, May 17: Mangalore is the best example for a city in which private bus operators break almost every rule under the sun, hardly bothered about the safety of their passengers. However, the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, including Transport Minister R. Ashoka, is more shocking. Although private buses are owned by individuals who invested in them, it is the drivers and conductors who run the show on a contract basis, paying the owner a pre-determined sum of money everyday.
Expressing his concerns regarding the above-mentioned “arrangement,” Hanumanth Kamath, the president of the Nagarika Hitarakshana Vedike, said that the contract is detrimental to the safety of not only commuters, but also pedestrians and other motorists. The drivers and the conductors, along with a handful of “cleaners,” run the buses in a bid to make a huge collection without bothering about the safety of the commuters, he added.
According to the traffic police statistics, nearly 120 people die because of rash driving in Mangalore every year, yet the government is taking its own sweet time to introduce KSRTC city bus services, said Mr. Kamath.
Stating that the situation stinks of corruption, he said that private operators have served the public for the past 75 years, but ever since the entry of individual bus owners into the picture, the competition has become fierce, putting the lives of ordinary commuters and pedestrians into risk.
Urging that the Lokayukta ought to investigate this case and find out why the government is hesitating to introduce KSRTC city bus services, PUCL President P. B. D’Sa said that, although Transport Minister Ashok speaks about introducing KSRTC city bus services, he keeps quiet when he visits Mangalore.
Unfortunately, even the traffic police look the other way when complaints of erring bus owners and drivers are brought before them. The RTO does not bother about the plight of passengers who are treated rudely by conductors, drivers, and cleaners, who gang up whenever passengers protest.
KSRTC unions have also condemned the transport minister’s apathy toward the subject of permitting the KSRTC to launch city bus services in Mangalore, Udupi, DK, and Uttara Kannada. Social activist Nagaraja said that the DK unit of KSRTC Workers’ Union suspects that Transport Minister Ashok has joined hands with the private bus lobby in Mangalore, especially because the transport minister was all praise for private bus operators during his recent visit to Puttur.