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City bus sets date with Cuttack

Cuttack, May 3: The city bus service, which was introduced in Bhubaneswar last October, will soon be extended to Cuttack.

The Orissa government managed to get an affidavit filed in the high court by city bus service operator Dream Team Sahara today committing to start the service to Cuttack on May 15, 2011.

On April 16, the high court had set May 1 as the deadline for the government to start the service in Cuttack. The judges had said that failure to comply with the order would be viewed as contempt of court and appropriate action would be initiated.

Bhubaneswar-Puri Transport Services Limited (BPTSL), a state PSU, had signed an MoU with Dream Team Sahara to take responsibility of operating the city bus service. As per the MoU the private operator was entrusted with the responsibility of operating the city bus service with 100 buses.

Sudhansu Sekhar Jena, chief executive officer (CEO) of Dream Team Sahara, said: “After a thorough discussion with BPTSL a decision has been taken at our level to start the city bus service in Cuttack on May 15, 2011.”

“In the first phase 10 buses have been allotted to the operators for plying to Cuttack. We, therefore, by this affidavit affirm before the court to start the city bus service to Cuttack on May 15, 2011, positively,” Jena mentioned in his affidavit filed in the high court today.

Records of communication exchanged between the government and the private bus service operator indicate that BPTSL authorities had written to Dream Team Sahara for extension of city bus services to Cuttack under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) on April 27.

“The high court has issued directives to extend city bus services to Cuttack by the end of this month. Therefore, it has been decided to ply city buses to Cuttack on or before May 1. You are therefore requested to take necessary steps for plying of city buses to Cuttack by the stipulated date to avoid any further litigation and contempt,” the BPTSL authorities wrote.

On April 28 Jena replied: “We are willing to start the operation of city bus service to Cuttack and back to Bhubaneswar as per the direction of the high court, but would like to submit to kindly give us time up to May 15, 2011, as we have to be ready in all respects and complete certain very important formalities before starting the operation. We feel our preparation for starting the operation and to complete the formalities will take seven to 10 days. Hence, we request you to give us time up to May 15 to start the operation.”

Dream Team Sahara said before starting the operation there was need for law and order arrangement, appointment of drivers, identification and finalisation of bus stoppages along the routes, finalisation of route survey and finalisation of MV tax and route permit for running the buses.

Interestingly, on January 13, 2011, the state government had contended before the court: “The city bus service provided to Bhubaneswar-Puri under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme cannot be extended to Cuttack city as the said scheme is applicable only to Bhubaneswar and Puri towns”.

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