City buses stand idle at the JTDC parking lot in Bartand on Tuesday. Picture by Gautam Dey
More than 18 days after a district level monitoring committee led by subdivisional officer Lal Mohan Mahto decided to revive the ailing city bus service in Dhanbad, plans are yet to get off the ground thanks to the apathy of the concerned authorities.
On January 10, 13 new routes were decided so that at least 45 buses could be used. Six buses were to ply on the Dhanbad station to Sindri via Jharia route, eight from Dhanbad station to Katras via Kenduadih, two from Steel Gate to Baliapur, two from Steel Gate to Sindri via Baliapur, two from Bartand to Tundi via Govindpur, two from Bartand to Topchanchi via Rajganj, 10 from Bartand to Chirkunda via Nirsa, two from Bartand to Maithon via Nirsa, two from Bartand to Mahuda via Kendua, three from Katras to Baghmara, two from Katras to Jharia, two from Hotel Ratan Vihar to Baghmara and two from station to Chatabad.
However, only 20 buses on six routes — Dhanbad station to Topchanchi, Dhanbad station to Katras, Dhanbad station to Nirsa, Jharia taxi stand to Katras, Dhanbad station to Baghmara, and Dhanbad station to Chirkunda — are at present operational. This apart, the committee plans to run 10 buses on the ring road — five from Dhanbad to Jharia and five from Dhanbad to Govindpur.
The committee also decided to approach different schools to use some of the buses, but a meeting with school authorities is yet to take place.
The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for February 2.
Speaking to The Telegraph, city bus service in-charge of JTDC in Dhanbad Surendra Manjhi said: “We have sought a list of drivers and conductors from the service provider Rider Security Service as shortage of staff is the biggest problem. We will be running at least six new buses within a couple of days.”
General manager of Rider Security Service, Arun Sinha, however, appeared more optimistic and said at least 30 buses will be on the roads before February 2.
“The JTDC management and district administration should also cooperate and provide salary to drivers on time because many times the drivers are compelled to quit because of pending dues,” said Sinha.
“Though sometimes we provide salaries to drivers from our own funds, we find it difficult to get reimbursement from JTDC on time,” he added.
Sinha was of the opinion that JTDC’s pre-condition that bus staff had to earn Rs 14 per kilometre had to be relaxed for the new routes.
“The JTDC authorities should inspect the new routes for some days and then decide the sales figures for the new routes as it would be difficult for drivers to get passenger on new routes,” said Sinha.
He said around 15 buses out of a fleet of 65 for Dhanbad need repairs. While 10 vehicles have serious glitches, which can only be repaired in Ranchi, five have minor problems that can be tackled in Dhanbad itself.
District transport officer Ravi Raj Sharma, assigned the task of approaching schools to use some of the buses, said as many schools have been closed over the last few days for a series of holidays, they would be approaching the institutions within two or three days.