Dehradun, November 15
The Transport Ministry has banned the operation of 378 old and worn-out buses of the department in the state. However, it has not announced any addition to the existing fleet of buses as the sudden reduction in their number is bound to affect transport services.

Asked about the status of worn-out buses and any plan to purchase new vehicles, Transport Minister Surender Rakesh said, “I banned the operation of 378 old buses recently. Of these, 176 buses were plying in hill areas. These had plied for at least six lakh kilometres over the last 15 years. Similarly, 202 buses, which had covered eight lakh kilometres and had also operated for almost 15 years in the plains, had also been banned. These buses were in a bad shape and incurring losses on account regular defects. They usually remained parked in workshops for repairs for long durations.”
The minister admitted that with 378 of the total 1,173 buses taken off the road, the transport services would be severely affected. He said to minimise the effect of the move only 170 buses had been taken off the road in the beginning and the rest of the identified buses would be discontinued after the department buys 160 new ones. The proposal was placed before the Cabinet and the state government had sanctioned Rs 25 crore for the purpose. As and when the department gets funds, the process of purchasing new buses will start, he added.
Rakesh said, “The state government has set up a committee to evaluate reasons for the losses incurred by the Transport Department and suggest concrete steps to turn it into a profitable entity. However, only one meeting of the committee was convened three months ago. The Tehri Lok Sabha byelection consumed our time. I hope sincere efforts will be made in this direction.”
It is due to the poor condition of the buses and unsatisfactory services of the Transport Department that private bus operators are making profits. They are even resorting to overloading in hill areas and paying less tax to the government. Besides, there are other private transport operators who ferry passengers to various places across the state. They must be doing it illegally at main locations like the ISBT, railway stations, Parade Ground, Rispana Pul and Niranjanpur Sabzi Mandi. The connivance of the traffic police with private transporters cannot be ruled out. Most of these transporters operate their vehicles to Saharanpur, Mussoorie, Tehri, Pauri and Uttarkashi. 

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