January 23, 2009 2:43:39 am
The state government is going to buy 3,000 eco-friendly buses to augment the fleet in both Kolkata and the districts. The buses will be bought with grants from the central government,which will disburse the amount under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM).
State Minister for Transport and Sports Subhas Chakraborty announced this on Thursday. He had a meeting with the owners of the buses and minibuses at the Writers Buildings.
The Calcutta High Court has set March 31 as the deadline for all 15-year-old buses and minibuses to be removed from roads.
The government has asked for Rs 200 crore from the Centre to implement the JNURM scheme.
According to the scheme for every bus while the Centre will pay 35 per cent of the price,the banks will lend 50 per cent. The owner will have to pay the remaining 15 per cent.
This is a very generous package and the owners should accept it. This will change the traffic scene of the city, Chakraborty said after the meeting.
The bus owners syndicate,however,rejected the package. We are ready to pay the 15 per cent. But we have objection on another count. When banks lend us money the bus gets hypothecated to them. We remain the owners. But in this scheme the government said we will be given a time span of 10 years and until the loan is cleared,the government would remain the owner of the bus. This is not acceptable to us, said Swarnakamal Saha,president of Bengal Bus Syndicate.
He also said they would,however,discuss the issue among themselves and would get back to the government soon.
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