The motor vehicles department has begun a fresh drive against tourist and sleeper bus operators flouting rules, seizing around 50 buses across the state on the first day of the drive. The action follows a high court directive in this regard.
The department had started a similar drive a few days before Diwali, seizing 100 buses in a single night. But the drive was abruptly stopped, following protests by bus operators, and keeping in mind the inconvenience to passengers.
The high court had directed the motor vehicles department to crack down against tourist bus operators that were not complying with the norms pertaining to emergency doors, dimensions, berth sizes, fire extinguishers, etc.
The latest Regional Transport Office (RTO) drive has irked bus operators, who created a ruckus at the transport commissioner’s office on Monday evening. They accused RTO officials of harassing them, despite having complied with the rules.
Transport commissioner Mahesh Zagade said he would not stop the drive or give operators more time to comply with the norms, but agreed to provide operators with a copy of the rules pertaining to emergency exits.
He said if any field officers harass the operators despite their compliance with the rules, the latter can directly approach the transport commission. A vigilance team would then look into the matter, Zagade said.
The transport commissioner also warned of action against RTO officials who allow buses in their jurisdiction to ply without complying with norms. “If any official allows such vehicles, they won’t be spared. They could even be suspended,” said Zagade.
When operators alleged an agent-RTO nexus, Zagade advised them to approach the anti-corruption bureau. “The state has anti-corruption machinery; you should approach it,” he said.