The Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to cancel the permit of all tourist buses registered with them, but not operating in their state.

Why private buses in Andhra and Telangana may be in trouble as Arunachal govt cracks whipImage for representation
news Transport Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 14:58

It was around 3am on Saturday, when a private travels bus that was on its way to Visakhapatnam rammed into an electric pole near Gajulapalle after the ‘dizzy’ driver lost control of the vehicle. 

While some of the passengers were seriously injured, no deaths were reported. 

However, what was shocking about the incident was footage that emerged from the accident spot that showed a few people busy painting the overturned bus and trying to cover its logo on Saturday morning.

They also smeared paint on the license plate of the vehicle, but not before it was caught on camera. 

The bus was registered under the Arunachal Pradesh Transport Department and operated by Sri Venkata Kanaka Durga Travels. 

This sparked off a major debate on local media in Telangana and Andhra, as it followed several allegations by politicians and officials alike that there were several such buses operating illegally in the state.

Following the incident, the Arunachal Pradesh government has now reportedly decided to put an end to such unlawful operation of 'tourist' buses and cancelled the permit of all buses that were registered with them, but not operating in their state.

The Times of India estimated that the move would affect as many as 900 buses in the two Telugu states and stated that it followed an earlier decision by the state government on June 6, that cancelled permits of these buses, stating that they did not operate in the state where they sought registration.

The Hindu reported that Arunachal Pradesh Transport Commissioner B Siram, wrote two letters to all the District Transport Officers in the State.

While the first letter asked them to cancel the registrations, pointing out that it was a violation of the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1989, the second letter asked the officers to also cancel the national permits of these vehicles. 

Siram also reportedly claimed that the registration of these vehicles had been done without physical inspection or verification of the address.

This move also comes two months after politician-businessman and TDP MP Kesineni Srinivas, closed down the offices of Kesineni Travels, one of South India's largest private travel agencies, following a tiff with a bureaucrat in March.

The Vijayawada MP shut the company to protest what he had called, the illegal operations of the travel companies registered in other states.

The MP had taken the decision after a heated argument with state Transport Commissioner N Balasubramanyam. 

At the time, he had alleged that a few operators had their vehicles registered in places like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and even Puducherry, but operated them in Andhra and Telangana.

It was also reported that it was his 'pressure tactic' to down the shutters on Kesineni Travels that began an investigation into the alleged violations.

The Arunachal Pradesh government's latest decision is expected to hit private buses in the state hard, and more reactions are awaited from several stakeholders.

However, unions in both states have welcomed the move.

Raja Reddy, RTC Union General secretary, Telangana, told the media, "It costs around Rs 5 lakh in the Telugu states to get a vehicle registered, where as it costs only Rs 17,000 in Arunachal Pradesh. They had kept the rate so low to promote tourism in their state."

"However, these private bus operators took advantage of this, and committed several major violations. Both the state governments must take proper action to curb such practices," he added.

While there has been no word from the private buses operating in the state, reports suggest that the Private Travel Operators Association plans to move court over the latest decision.

 

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