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300 modern buses wait for operators

Three hundred new buses bought by the state government with central funds have found no takers.

Of the 900-plus semi-low floor and low-floor buses purchased under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme, 600 have hit the road. About half are being run by private operators and the rest by various state transport corporations.

“We are worried about the remaining 300 buses, for which there are no takers yet,” transport minister Ranjit Kundu told Metro.

He met finance minister Asim Dasgupta and transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury at Writers’ Buildings on Monday to discuss the issue.

“We will decide on the next step after another round of discussion,” said Kundu after the meeting.

A transport department source said the meeting was to decide whether the government would ply the buses itself or invite applications from private operators.

“The problem is there are no takers for new permits. There is a major dearth of private players interested in buying these buses. The state corporations would find it difficult to run 300 more buses because of infrastructure and manpower constraints,” said a transport department official.

Most of the 300 buses are yet to reach the city.

The transport minister also met representatives of various oil companies at Writers’ on Monday and asked them to expedite the process of setting up LPG stations.

“We have 16 LPG stations in the Calcutta Metropolitan Area. We plan to set up 39 more stations as soon as possible,” said Kundu.

“The oil companies had told us earlier that they would set up the LPG stations by March next year. But we have asked them to do so by next year,” he added.

The department also wants the relaying of tram tracks to be finished before next monsoon.

“We have decided to finish the work in another three months. Work had to be halted on some stretches because of traffic bottlenecks,” said the minister.

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