Transport corp plan to purchase 200 new buses yet to materialise 

Dehradun, September 23
The tall promises made by the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) of buying 200 new buses have not been fulfilled as yet. The existing fleet of 1170 buses is plying on the roads. When a few months ago, a bus in Tyuni hill area of the state fell into a gorge, which led to the death of more than 20 people, the demand for new buses had been made. It was said that the tragedy had occurred because of the bad condition of the bus and poor service of the buses in the hills. Buses in the hill areas remain overloaded with people.
Officials as well the State Transport Minister had assured of purchasing new buses and replacing the worn-out ones, but nothing changed beyond empty rhetoric.
Among 1170 buses, some 800 buses are somewhat functional but not in good condition. Most of them are old and require repeated repairs.
General secretary, UTC Employees' Association, Ravi Pauchari, said: " “Only 300 buses are plying in hill areas, most of which are not in good condition. The bus service is poor. People have to wait for hours to catch one bus. They have no option but to opt for private ones, which charge more but give frequent service.” There are six hill depots throughout the state - at Dehradun, Lohaghat, Pithoragarh, Almora, Bhavali and Ranikhet. Those running in the plains have a similar saddening story. “The buses remain parked in workshopa for frequent repairs. They consume a lot of diesel. The state government must auction them and buy new ones in their place,” he said.
When the state was carved out 11 years ago, it had got 955 buses from the Uttar Pardesh government. The government has not done much to increase either the strength or the service of buses to ply within and out of the state. At present, there are only 45 hi-tech buses, 40 AC and just 22 Volvo buses. General Manager, UTC, Deepak Jain, said : “Uttarakhand Transport Corporation has already sent a proposal before the state government regarding the purchase of new buses. We are hoping to get new buses shortly. Such matters, however, take time.” He also admitted that the corporation needed to act fast in doing away with old buses by auctioning them. The revenue thus generated will be utilised in buying spare parts or sprucing up workshops.
The bus workshops have not been updated with changing times.
The old redundant equipment and methodology are syill being used. The plan chalked out by the then Managing Director, UTC, Ranjit Sinha, to build a new high-tech workshop near the bus-stand has not seen light of the day in the last two years. “There is acute shortage of spare parts. The buses remain lying in workshops for days together for want of small spare parts. The technical staff is less and vacancies are not being filled, ” Pauchari said. At present, there were 4300 regular employees and 2500 daily wagers, he added.

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