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State transport body pegs losses due to Maratha agitation at over ₹33 crore

Until Wednesday, a day before another round of bandh declared by the agitators, at least 500 buses had suffered damages at the protestors’ hands.

pune Updated: Aug 09, 2018 15:11 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
State transport body,losses,Maratha agitation
Damaged ST bus at Chakan ST bus stand in Pune on Tuesday. (HT PHOTO)

The Maharashtra state road transport corporation (MSRTC) has lost more than ₹30 crore in revenue, and ₹3 crore in damage to buses and infrastructure in the violence relating to the Maratha agitation since mid-July.

Until Wednesday, a day before another round of bandh declared by the agitators, at least 500 buses had suffered damages at the protestors’ hands. With yet another bus damaged in Parbhani on Wednesday, all department heads at MSRTC have been asked to arrange for enough police protection for moving buses, bus stops, bus stop buildings and control rooms. The MSRTC has also decided to take a call on the movement of buses on Thursday morning based on the ground situation.

In Pune, the Pune mahanagar parivahan mahamandal limited (PMPML) which runs the city bus service has decided not to ply on 14 routes and completely shut down operations on eight routes as a precautionary measure, spokesperson Subhash Gaikwad said. The PMPML, which is already suffering from poor fleet strength and a host of operational issues, suffered damage to 10 buses in the agitation.

The MSRTC suffered maximum damage in the Solapur division, where around 140 buses were damaged. In Pune division, 40 buses were damaged in the district since July 25, six days after the violence broke out.

The maximum damage in Pune division was caused in Chakan where, besides MSRTC buses, 10 city buses operated by PMPML were set on fire and vandalised. Over 100 vehicles including private, public and commercial, along with private property was vandalised in the agitation, according to Sandip Patil, superintendent of police of Pune rural.

The total property damage recorded in Chakan was to the tune of ₹10 crore, the police said.

Emotional appeals by Diwakar Raote, Maharashtra transport minister and chairman, MSRTC, to spare state transport buses, which provided invaluable service in rural Maharashtra, fell on deaf ears.

“The ST (state transport) is the common passengers’ rightful lifeline, right mode of transport, but I feel these days we have started misusing this right,” he had said in his appeal in Marathi published by the MSRTC in the last week of July.

“Remember the hardships faced by passengers when ST workers had called for a strike for their rights during Diwali ...Remember how much the children of a village had to suffer when ST buses were down,” he said, while comparing these buses to love from one’s mother.

Evidently, this appeal did not have an effect as the agitators torched, stoned, damaged tyres and broke glasses of the state buses.

The police and the state authorities have braced themselves for the bandh on Thursday even as Nanasaheb Kunte Patil, the Mumbai-based state coordinator for the Maratha agitation has promised that the protest on August 9 would be peaceful.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 15:11 IST