The safety of passengers travelling on state transport buses has come under the scanner with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) failing to secure fitness certificates for several of its buses.
The Thane Regional Transport Office has since April 15, fined MSRTC Rs81,900 after finding that 32 buses did not have their fitness certificates renewed.
The minimum fine charged for a bus was Rs1,000, while the maximum was Rs5,300.
Seven buses were fined more than Rs2,500 for the delay in fitness renewal.
This is the first time the transport department has taken such action against the MSRTC.
After facing the Bombay high court’s wrath in March this year, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) had called for stern action against vehicles plying on Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) roads without valid fitness certificates. The enforcement drive started on April 15.
PB Jagtap, divisional manager of MSRTC, confirmed the penalty, but said he has asked for the money to be refunded because nothing was wrong at MSRTC’s end.
“Most of the buses they checked had met with accidents and had been pulled out of transport services for repairs. We have shown our transport records to the RTO officials and they are satisfied with them.”
Jagtap claimed they have written a letter to the Thane RTO asking for the refund. MB Jadhav, regional transport officer of Thane, was unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, a union leader blamed the delay in fitness certificate renewal on a shortage of manpower and spare parts.
“They could not do the job because they do not have enough mechanics or engineers, and spare parts are not available easily,” he said, requesting anonymity.