Manipur’s first public transport system has run into rough weather. Though the Centre is giving the state 25 semi-low floor buses,due to lack of fund and with no private company coming forward to bid for operation and maintenance of the vehicles,the state has missed its March 31 deadline.
For a decade now,Manipur has had no public buses. In fact,apart from private,shared autorickshaws Imphal and indeed the entire state has had no public transport system.
Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM),the Centre has promised Manipur 25 buses,and 11 of these have already reached the state. The transport department has handed over two to the traffic police to run between Thangal and Pauna Bazaar.
There are two models on which the state can run these buses. The first is creating a state transport corporation.
We dont have fund to invest in a bus rapid transit system. After incurring heavy losses the transport corporation was closed down in 2003, says Principal Secretary,Works,Ram Muivah.
The second model is to hand over the operations and maintenance of the buses to private concerns.
We have called for tenders thrice already and not a single company or individual has shown interest. A bus costs Rs 29 lakh. The condition in the last tender was that the bidder would give Rs 10 lakh to the government and over a period of 10 years pay the rest. We are revising this and asking for only Rs 5 lakh per bus now, says Muivah,adding that still not a single bid has reached the government.
We cant even send requisition for the remaining 14 buses. Our deadline to get all the buses running was March 31, Muivah adds.