The state transport department has taken a serious note of private bus operators illegally operating interstate bus service despite a ban imposed by the state government in the wake of Covid-19.
The department on Thursday issued the show cause notice to some of the officials of Ranchi district transport office after it was discovered that a number of buses operate from Ranchi to different districts of Bihar as well as other states.
“I have instructed for legal action and to fix responsibility in the case of such violations. All districts have been asked to ensure a ban on interstate movement of buses must be followed,” said Transport Secretary K. Ravi Kumar.
Joint transport commissioner Ravi Shankar Vidyarthi, on the other hand, said that officials, who have been issued show-causes notice have been asked to explain as to
how the buses are being operated.
“Action is taken on a regular basis. Besides, show-cause notices to some of the officials, FIR has been lodged against six buses for illegal operation. Similar actions were taken in Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and other districts also in the past. As per the order of the state government interstate bus movement stands suspended,” said Vidyarthi.
Not only in other districts even in Ranchi, some of the bus operators of the city, have been operating interstate bus service despite the ban.
Operators book tickets and they pick passengers at certain pick-up points and it passes through various checkpoints and likes. Interestingly, tickets are available both online and offline and even tickets are provided by touts. Between Ranchi and Patna there are 45 buses operating on a day to day basis. Passengers are given specific locations on the way to catch the buses.
On an average a passenger is charged Rs 1200 against each sleeper seat. Additionally, they have to pay Rs 25 for sanitization of seats.
Some of the bus owners who are abiding the rule said: “Not all but a good number of bus operators are running interstate bus service. The transport department must be aware of violation of lockdown order. Operating long distance buses against government order and that remain undetected is not possible without wheeling and dealing.”
On this Vidyarthi said that the transport department on a number of occasions issued letters to district administration and police.
“The letter categorically states that district administration and district police have equal responsibility to stop illegal interstate movement of buses and to take necessary actions,” he said.
But he did not comment as to why concerned district administration and police are not showing any interest.
In Jharkhand there are around 7500 buses registered, out of which 3500 buses operate within the State, whereas 1500 buses have interstate road permit and remaining are school buses.