Announced by Transport Minister, new bus fleet for SRTC nowhere in sight

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A new bus fleet for State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) announ-ced by Minister for Transport, Abdul Ghani Kohli, in the Legislative Assembly in March last is nowhere in sight till now while the next session of the Assembly is about to begin within the next few days.
While replying to the demand of annual grants, the Minister Abdul Ghani Kohli had told the House in last Assembly Session that the Department is contemplating to add new bus fleet to ply on new routes to earn more profit and for this an amount of Rs 13 crore has been demanded. He had also expressed hope that after adding the new fleet the functioning of the department will come on track.
But after a lapse of eight months time, even a single bus has not been added to the already existing fleet of the State SRTC while nobody is unaware that there are many routes in the State particularly to far flung areas of the State where there are inadequate transport facilities and people of these areas are suffering badly.
Though at many of these routes private transport facilities are available but the people of the State have a greater confidence on the drivers of SRTC rather than the drivers of private operators, who are infamous for rash driving and resultant road mishaps. Therefore to ensure safe and secure journey for the people of the State, it is urgently required to add new fleet of buses in the SRTC.
Besides, the Minister had also announced in the House that Government was committed to further streamline the functioning of Transport Department and to make the organization more accountable and profitable. Though, some work has been done in streamlining the functioning of the department but a lot needed to be done.
Further, the Minister’s assurance that to ensure management and development of better human resource of drivers, Government envisages taking steps like introducing efficient licensing policy and effective permit system for public transport, nothing seems to be done on the ground as corruption is prevalent largely in the department particularly Regional Transport Offices where in order to get a driving license or registering a vehicle, one has to make rounds of the concerned office time and again which forces them to pay to the agents for getting their work done.
When contacted, Minister of Transport, Abdul Ghani Kohli, said that the State had to get a fleet of 350 new buses from Government of India (GoI) under its Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme but non-submission of utilization certificate of earlier grants to the Centre by the past State Government proved to be roadblock in sanctioning of funds for the new fleet of buses by the GoI. As the submission of the utilization certificate got delayed, in the meantime the JNNURM scheme was stopped by the GoI and hence the State was deprived of the new fleet of buses.
On streamlining the functioning of Transport Department and making it more accountable, he said, “We have made the licensing system online in three districts— one Reasi district of Jammu region and two districts of Kashmir and soon such system will be introduced in all districts of the State. On making the organization profitable, he said that it is difficult as the department has to give special services but efforts are afoot on this direction too.
The Minister further said that to ease the increasing vehicular traffic they have temporarily stopped issuing permits for commercial vehicles and are identifying the areas where it is genuine requirement to issue such permits.

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