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Buses under scanner

- Advisers want new entities to run service in three cities

Ranchi, Feb. 14: The state administration is considering introducing special purpose vehicles in the three principal cities of Jharkhand where city bus services are in operation since their inauguration in 2010 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Governor’s advisers Madhukar Gupta and K. Vijay Kumar held a review of the urban mass transport system in Ranchi, Dhanbad and Jamshedpur at the state guesthouse in the capital this evening, a first scrutiny of the bus services after President’s Rule was imposed last month.

“The advisers wanted to know everything about the current scenario of the operation of city buses. Options are being weighed to introduce SPV (special purpose vehicles) in Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad to run the services smoothly and effectively,” said a senior government official who was present in the meeting.

At present, the Jharkhand State Tourism Development Corporation (JSTDC) is acting as a common SPV to run the bus services in the three cities.

The corporation, which faces staff crunch itself, has relied on outsourcing the services to individual parties in the cities.

JSTDC has also been demanding the transfer of services to the respective corporations and civic bodies of the cities.

The SPV are expected to at least run the services on a break-even.

The deputy commissioner and chief executive officers and chairpersons of the civic bodies concerned would represent the proposed SPV, sources added.

Notably, JSTDC has failed to invite fresh tenders to introduce new service providers in the three cities, though it has been insistent on takeover by corporations and civic bodies.

In Ranchi, JSTDC fills up 20 litres of diesel everyday in the buses and in return pockets a minimum of Rs 1,600-1,800. Losses and profits after that are a concern of the service provider, that is ASK Security. In Dhanbad, Rider Security Private Limited is the service provider.

In Jamshedpur, however, the agreement with Capital Detective and Security Services Limited, the private agency running the service in the city, was terminated by JSTDC last August over poor performance.

Sources confided that the advisers also wanted to know the exact requirements of buses in all three cities, besides availability of depots to keep them in good condition.

Notably, at Dhurwa depot, discarded buses of Bihar State Road Transport Corporation are gathering dust for years.

The state-employed consultant, Urban Mass Transport Company, is also apparently sitting idle as no improvement in services has been witnessed.

Among those who attended today’s meeting were finance secretary Sukhdev Singh, his urban development counterpart Nitin Madan Kulkarni, tourism director Sidhhartha Tripathy, JSTDC director Sunil Kumar, deputy commissioners of Ranchi, East Singhbhum and Dhanbad and CEOs of Ranchi Municipal Corporation, Dhanbad Municipal Corporation and Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee.


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