Entry of state-owned buses on more than six different routes across Ludhiana has been unofficially banned so that buses of political leaders and others can run on these routes. This has caused losses to the Punjab Road Transport Corporation.
Jeevan Nagar, Jaito, Raikot, Bathinda and Dabowali are some of the routes which have been taken over by private buses.
Transport officials are wary to speak anything on the issue due to the influence of political leader whose buses run on these routes.
However, some of the employees of the state transport department said this was a planned strategy to ban gover nment buses and benefit the private operators.
Punjab Roadways has 119 buses which ply on roads across Ludhiana. Sur prisingly, the Roadways pays 15,000 a day as road tax even though its buses don’t ply on these routes for the past five years.
An official of AITUC union said, “Most of the private buses ply on different routes in Bathinda for which roadways buses have permits.”
He added, “`15,000 is deposited everyday as road tax. Roadways buses miss out 5,500 km distance daily. We are suffering annual losses worth lakhs.”
It has been lear nt that services of two buses were snapped between Jalandhar and Delhi airport. Private buses had started their operations on the route last year.
However, top officials of the department show ignorance over the issue. Another member of the union said, “The regional transport officers decide the bus routes under pressure.”
Sumer Singh Gurjar, director of state transport department, could not be contacted. Amarpal Singh, additional secretary, state transport department, said, “I have taken the charge temporarily and I am unaware about the issue. So, I cannot comment on such a serious issue.”
State transport commissioner, Pirthi Chand, said the service of buses on these routes might have been discontinued due to inadequate number of buses. “We are the per mit g ranting authority, we have done our part and now it’s up to the authority concerned to run buses on these routes.”
State transport minister, Ajit Singh Kohar, said, “It is a serious issue that has been brought to my light. I will visit the Chandigarh office and look into the matter,” said Kohar.