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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

HC pulls up MSRTC over lack of security, unhygienic conditions at bus stands

HC observed that ‘same affects the safe and secure travelling of poor passengers having no voice to raise their grievances.’

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: August 30, 2021 7:57:51 am
The Bombay High Court in Mumbai. (File)

THE AURANGABAD bench of the Bombay High Court expressed ‘shock’ over the condition of state public transport (ST) bus stands and depots across Maharashtra, about safety and hygiene; of the commuters related to toilets, drinking facilities, nursing rooms, availability of police personnel, unhygienic condition of canteen kitchens among others.

HC observed that ‘same affects the safe and secure travelling of poor passengers having no voice to raise their grievances.’

The court also expressed displeasure and sought the state government’s detailed response to PIL raising concerns over the safety of nearly 80-lakh passengers travelling in public transport buses of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) every day across the state.

A division bench of Justice V K Jadhav and Justice Shrikant D Kulkarni on August 25 was hearing a PIL filed by activist Mukesh Rajesh Bhatt raising issues and sought reliefs about lack of security at the bus stands and unhindered access to access to unauthorized private travel agents at the MSRTC bus depots.

The petitioner also highlighted the lack of cleanliness at bus stands and common toilets etc and raised concern over the quality of food provided in the canteens. The plea said that there were no medical services provided by MSRTC for the commuters including facilities of ‘doctor on call’, in case of any emergency.

Advocate A P Lohade representing the petitioner referred to an incident in which a physically disabled boy lost his life after he was abducted and taken to another place from a bus stand and was murdered.

He added that despite the Motor Vehicles Act, which mandates every public transport bus to have first-aid kits installed, the same was not available in many buses plying in the rural areas.

After perusing submissions and material produced, the bench said that it was ‘shocked’ to see the photographs taken by the petitioner of the toilets, nursing rooms, locked police chowkis and canteens.

The court in its order observed, “We are aware that most of the travellers in public transport buses are poor persons having no voice to raise their dissatisfaction against the so-called facilities provided by the respondent – MSRTC at various bus stands. Further, we are shocked to see security lapses… also the recent incident that occurred in which a woman traveller was assaulted by the private travel agent with the help of a knife when she refused to board his private vehicle.”

Seeking a response from the state government and MSRTC headed by transport minister Anil Parab, the bench posted a further hearing on PIL to September 21.


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