Expressing concern that a large number of buses in West Bengal will have to be phased out after 2024 as they will cross the 15 year deadline, the association of bus owners on Friday requested the transport department to give them a two-year window.
The Joint Council of Bus Syndicate said bus owners are not in a position to replace their old vehicles with new environment-friendly buses or upgrade the BS-4 compliant ones to future BS variants.
Syndicate secretary Tapan Banerjee told PTI, "We have requested the government to give bus owners an opportunity to replace the engines as pollution does not occur from the body of a vehicle or from other parts." The syndicate also urged the state government to give the bus owners a two-year window as buses stayed off the roads for two years during Covid.
"We appeal to both central and state governments to consider the plight of private bus operators who are not even in a position to pay the EMIs," Banerjee said.
The syndicate also requested the government to rethink about shifting bus terminuses from the central parts of the city to the outskirts as it will "cause great difficulty to the common man including small businessmen." Currently, 32,000 buses and minibuses ply in the city, around 40 per cent less than pre-Covid times, bus association sources said.
A senior transport official told PTI, "As per the directive of the Calcutta High Court, the 15 years deadline issued for commercial vehicles is non-negotiable and the government cannot act on its own. We are, however, open for discussions to their various demands with an open mind."
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