Mangaluru, Aug 23, 2015 : After dragging the matter for more than one-and-a-half-years, the Dakshina Kannada Regional Transport Authority (RTA) on Saturday agreed to allow the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to operate 18 buses from State Bank, the heart of the city, as city services under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), against the 35 buses sanctioned for the city by the Union government.
For the remaining 17 buses, the KSRTC has to make fresh applications within a week avoiding State Bank, Deputy Commissioner and RTA Chairman A.B. Ibrahim said. He said the District Magistrate modified a notification issued in 2013 that had fixed the cap on number of buses to enter State Bank.
“You should not just focus on making profit by seeking permits for busy routes. It is but natural for private bus operators to expect profit after having invested on buses; but KSRTC as a government undertaking should bear in mind its social obligations too. Hence, you are required serve areas which do not have bus connectivity at all,” Mr. Ibrahim advised the corporation.
The applications for city bus permits under JNNURM were filed in December 2013. From then onwards, the issue was getting postponed periodically at RTA meetings.
However, KSRTC reminded the RTA that it had sought permits for 17 routes by deploying 35 buses based on public feedback. It was the very same RTA which had directed the corporation and the Transport Department to get the feedback on March 30, KSRTC counsel Rajesh Nayak said.
All the 2,300-odd applications received by the public sought services from State Bank to different parts of the city. State Bank being the centre of a host of activities is the natural choice for the general public to have connectivity with, the counsel said.
The Corporation reworked the routes by seeking more inputs as directed by the RTA in its August 5 meeting and finalised 24 routes for 35 buses, the counsel said. It is surprising that the RTA is not adhering to its own directions, Mr. Nayak remarked.
Mr. Ibrahim, however, said that based on various inputs, the District Magistrate allowed only 18 new buses to enter State Bank.
The then Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner V. Madhu, as the District Magistrate, had issued a notification on April 6, 1993, limiting the number of buses to enter Hampanakatte, State Bank, to those already having permits. Buses with fresh permits have to terminate at designated places on the periphery of the city, the notification said.
Interestingly, the notification was issued on a plea by the Canara Bus Operators’ Association, Udupi, which represented private bus operators in the undivided Dakshina Kannada district. It had mentioned only private buses and not KSRTC buses. The notification was periodically modified to some extent; but no fresh permits were issued beyond 1995 to State Bank area. However, this private operators have been using the 1993 notification to oppose issuing permits to the KSRTC.
Ahead of Saturday’s RTA meeting, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim, as the District Magistrate, modified the notification issued in 2013, allowing 18 KSRTC buses as city service to enter State Bank area, against 35 buses for which permits were sought by the KSRTC.