SMALL-TIME OPERATORS of mini buses are going to take a major blow in the proposed cancellation by the state transport department of route permits and route extensions granted by the previous government in alleged violation of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The move, necessitated by stringent High Court directions on the issue, is likely to affect mini bus operators on a large scale. More than 6,500 mini bus permits are in line for cancellation. The majority of operators of such buses, officials in the transport department say, are small-time individual operators, who own a bus or two.
Buses belonging to companies in which the Badal family has stakes are also set to face the axe. The department has identified over 2,000 buses belonging to various transporters, who were granted route extensions in violation of the laid-down norms. They were operating on inter-state routes without the Centre’s mandatory approval for such operations. They were also granted additional trips again in violation of the norms.
According to a transport department official, route extension permits of the number of buses of Orbit Aviation, Dabwali Transport, Taj Travels and Rajdhani Travels, in which the Badals recently bought stake, have been identified for cancellation in Bathinda, Patiala and Jalandhar RTAs.
In Ferozepur RTA, which according to a transport department official, is comparatively “smaller in operations”, compared to the other three RTAs, extension permits for buses of New Deep Transport Company, a company co-owned by SAD leader Hardeep Singh Dimpy Dhillon, and Jhujhar Travels, have been identified for cancellation.
According to norms, a one-time maximum extension of 24 kilometres is permitted, but transporters have availed of route extensions more than once, several times straying from the original route to faraway destinations. Public comfort was the justification offered by transporters to wangle the route extensions, said the official.
In Patiala RTA, several buses of big transport companies, namely Ambala Bus Syndicate, Khatra Bus Service and Libra Bus Service have also been identified for cancellation of extension permits under “route extension/increase of trips”.
As far as cancellation of mini bus permits are concerned, the main violation according to a transport department official was that there was no category of mini buses in the transport policy, but in violation of this, permits were issued in the category of Stage Carriage Bus.
RTAs most affected
Patiala: More than 800 permits of buses, excluding mini buses, of Orbit Aviation, Dabwali Transport and Taj Travels to be affected. That is more than 60 (buses of all three companies)
Bathinda: Total bus permits (mini buses not included) to be affected more than 400. A transport department official said majority of the buses of single transporters belong to Orbit Aviation and Dabwali Transport Company.
Jalandhar: Total bus permits (excluding mini buses) to be affected more than 750. Number of bus permits of transport companies Dabwali Transport, Orbit Aviation, Rajdhani and Kartar Bus Service to be affected, said an official.
Ferozepur: Total bus permits (barring mini buses) to be affected about 120. According to an official, 40 bus permits of New Deep and 20 bus permits of Jhujhar Travels to be affected.