Private buses in Sakchi on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Private bus operators in the city have indicated they are in no mood to share road space with city buses, aborting a district administration initiative to ensure that both fleets were able to ply.
After remaining silent during a meeting with the administration on Saturday, when it was decided that private buses and city buses would run together on designated routes, the operators said on Wednesday that they would not allow city buses to use their terminus in Sakchi.
But the district administration is firm. Officials said they would get the details they were seeking on routes and timings from the road transport authority in Ranchi and take legal action against the representatives of private operators.
The defiant private operators — they own 120 buses running on 14 routes carrying over 12,000 passengers daily — are represented by Shikshik Berojgar Mini Bus Association.
“We will not let city buses run from Sakchi. The space at the bus stand is hardly sufficient for private buses,” said association general secretary Sanjay Pandey. “The administration has not bothered to provide basic infrastructure and now it wants to allow city buses there too. We will surrender our buses if they want so,” he threatened.
The Sakchi bus stand, spread over 3,000sqft, was constructed by Jusco in 2004. Bus owners complain that there are no shelters or restrooms for passengers. It is bereft of drinking water facilities though the owners have arranged taps with water connections from Jusco.
Apart from sharing routes, the idea is to allow the city buses — only 13 of a fleet of 50 are running — to share the Sakchi bus stand.
But the association alleged the administration wanted to give priority to city buses and eat into their schedules. “We are not prepared for that as it would lead to a clash of interest,” Pandey added.
On why they did not raise the issue at Saturday’s meeting, Pandey said they weren’t given enough opportunity.
“I communicated the district administration’s views to our operators. Most did not want to toe the line. On Monday, we resolved to defy the directive,” he explained.
The administration, which wants to avoid a direct confrontation with the bus operators, is mulling legal recourse.
“We will get detailed route charts and timings in a day or two. Thereafter, we will plan a unified timing for city buses and private buses, which will operate from Sakchi bus stand. Everything will be done keeping in mind commuter interests,” said Shanker.
He added that if the operators did not cooperate, legal action could be taken against them. “As far as infrastructure is concerned, we will ask Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee to ensure basic amenties at the earliest.”