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regular-article-logo Monday, 17 June 2024

Bengal bus owners' associations urge govt to extend 15-year old vehicle phaseout deadline by two years

The Joint Council of Bus Syndicate in a letter to senior officials of the transport department argued that buses and minibuses could not run for about three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown

PTI Calcutta Published 15.12.23, 12:11 PM
Representational picture

Representational picture File picture

Two leading private bus owners associations in West Bengal have asked the state Transport department to extend the 15-year deadline for stage carriages by two years.

The Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, one of the two associations, in a letter to senior officials of the transport department called for extending the deadline for two more years arguing that buses and minibuses could not run for about three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown.

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Transport minister Snehasis Chakraborty told PTI on Thursday that the government is aware of the situation and is mulling steps which will be acceptable to bus operators, common people, lakhs of people whose livelihoods revolve in the transport sector and take care of environmental issues.

Joint Council of Bus Syndicate spokesperson Tapan Banerjee told PTI, "Due to zero earnings for several months as buses remained off the roads we could not provide bank EMIs during that period. We are of the view as the vehicles remained off the roads, there was no chance of them causing vehicular pollution in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Hence the life expectancy of the vehicles can be extended by two more years. We urge the government to take this matter into consideration".

West Bengal Bus and Minibus Owners' Association, another representative body of private bus operators, also advocated extending the certificate of fitness validity dateline by another two years from 2024.

Association general secretary Pradip Narayan Bose said "We request to extend the life of buses and minibuses for two years more due to the lockdown and pandemic.

In a letter to the department, the association said "As you are already aware that the life of the buses and minibuses is for 15 years and it was implemented on August 1, 2009 and hence about 70 per cent of the vehicles will have to be scrapped from 2024 onwards.

He requested the government to extend the life of buses and minibuses for two years "as they did not ply due to the pandemic and lockdown".

The minister said, "We call upon bus unions to approach the high court and NGT on the issue as the court had ruled in 2009 that vehicles above 15 years of age cannot ply in the Kolkata Metropolitan area. So the ball is in the court's domain. We are sympathetic to the issues raised by the bus operators. But we have to see vehicular pollution is contained".

Chakraborty said lakhs of commercial vehicles, including buses, cannot ply in the KMA area as a result after 2024.

"We have made the 15-year time frame optional for commercial vehicles outside the KMA area to strike a balance between the crisis faced by bus operators and environmental issues," he added.

Presently 32,000 buses ply in the city and Howrah, bus association sources said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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