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Star buses? fate in balance

india Updated: Feb 12, 2007 19:48 IST

WITH BUS operators of the Bhopal City Link Limited (BCLL) threatening to withdraw buses in the face of disputes and alleged police harassment, the first organised transport system in the City faces an uncertain future.

Inaugurating the Star buses on October 2 last year, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had termed the start of the service an achievement in a short period. However, the achievement seems to be in jeopardy due to lack of coordination between various government agencies. District collector is the executive director of the BCLL.

The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Bhopal Development Authority (BDA) are the stakeholders in the company floated by the government.

“We do not feel safe in the present scenario and will not be able to run the buses in Bhopal. Everybody knows the problems we are facing from the beginning. I am thinking of shifting the buses to Kota in Rajasthan, where a similar project was launched recently. We will also meet the Chief Minister in this regard,” said Ashish Puri, a bus operator of the BCLL. Puri is the biggest operator having 23 buses.

Operators back off from purchaseing buses despite placing an order for 10 buses — an indication of problems being faced in running the buses. At present, 39 buses are being run on 11 routes of the City. Problems began from the time of launch of the service as minibus operators were opposed to introduction of these buses in the City.

Later, some buses were attacked and about three dozen complaints were lodged with the police about manhandling of staff of these buses.  

Now, there is a row between bus operators and the traffic police. However, the employees of star buses believe that the traffic police acted at the behest of minibus operators, who had celebrated the action against the Star buses on Saturday evening.

Bus operators have told the BCLL officers that they are finding it quite difficult to run the buses in such a situation. At a meeting on Sunday, the BCLL operators, including Shailendra Verma, Ashish Puri and Hirendra Shekhawat, decided that they would not run buses in Bhopal as the police were allegedly harassing them without any valid reason. However, BCLL CEO and SDM Vaid Prakash tried to convince them to continue their service.

Star buses keep off road for second day
THE STARBUSES kept off roads in the City on Sunday, the second day in a row after owners withdrew buses. The decision on resuming the operation of these buses could not be taken at the meeting on Sunday. It was decided that the star bus operation would remain suspended for the indefinite period. 

The present row has its origin in the alleged misbehaviour with traffic official Supriya Chaudhary by the Starbus employees. The traffic police acted 24 hours after the incident and lodged a complaint against the  Starbuses employees. The MP Nagar police registered case against seven star buses employees on Saturday evening. Since then, the buses are not being run, causing problems for citizens, who have found better city transport system in the-se buses. The buses are par-ked on the BCLL premises at 7 No. Bus Stop.