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Bengal government's plan to speed up bus, auto permits

With the East-West Metro now running between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade and Sector V and Phoolbagan; the New Garia Garia-Airport line operational till Ruby; and the Joka-Esplanade line open till Majerhat, demands for new autorickshaw routes and tweaks in bus services have surfaced

Kinsuk Basu | Published 04.04.24, 06:42 AM
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Representational image

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Applications for bus and autorickshaw permits, new routes and changes in existing routes will have to be speedily cleared to meet last-mile connectivity demands, particularly along new Metro links, the state government has decided.

A recent circular issued by the transport department said: “Regular board meetings of the regional transport authority must invariably be held every month to dispose of all pending applications....”

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The circular, signed by the department’s secretary Saumitra Mohan, has been sent to the transport director, chairman of the regional transport authority and all district magistrates with a list of services that the regional transport authorities should consider for quick disposal.

These include creating new routes, issuing new permits, altering the conditions of the permits, and cancelling and suspending permits.

“We want to expedite the process of clearing applications either for new permits or for creating new routes and other allied services. The transport map is changing rapidly. New Metro lines are coming up and the commuters must be provided with last-mile connectivity at the earliest,” transport minister
Snehasis Chakraborty told Metro.

With the East-West Metro now running between Howrah Maidan and Esplanade and Sector V and Phoolbagan; the New Garia Garia-Airport line operational till Ruby; and the Joka-Esplanade line open till Majerhat, demands for new autorickshaw routes and tweaks in bus services have surfaced.

Senior officers in the transport department said applications for new routes connecting different parts of the city to the new Metro links, particularly along EM Bypass and Diamond Harbour Road, have poured into the regional transport offices.

“A new autorickshaw route has started functioning between Singhabari and Gopalnagar catering to the commuters who are using the Jyotirindranath Nandi station,” said a senior traffic officer posted along EM Bypass.

“There are demands for increasing the fleet strength of autorickshaws that connect Mukundapur and Nayabad, and Ruby to Jadavpur,” he added.

Senior officials in the transport department said a regional transport board is the entity authorised to issue new permits, cancel permits, draw up new routes and extend existing ones.

Such a board comprises a district magistrate, a representative of a political party — usually the ruling party — a regional transport officer and a motor vehicles inspector.

With the launch of the Metro links, the department has been receiving appeals from parts of New Town, Bhangar, Dakshineswar, New Garia and Narendrapur for new routes for autorickshaws, officials said.

Some of these pockets have witnessed a spurt in real estate in recent times with several housing complexes coming up. But bus services have remained woefully poor.

“A person can’t just buy an autorickshaw and start plying in Bengal. The owner has to apply for a permit, which is offered by the regional transport authority board after considering the number of existing vehicles on the route applied for,” said a senior official of the department.

“The state government is now keen on reducing this wait time for a permit application being cleared for a new route,” the official said.

Last updated on 04.04.24, 06:43 AM
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