An embarrassing situation arose for the Congress in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Thursday when a party MLA threatened to launch a protest against the state government for failing to crack down on private transporters whose buses were involved in fatal accidents.
The Gidderbaha legislator, Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, said that “people were losing faith in us” and that Transport Minister Aruna Chaudhary should take immediate measures against the erring transporters. “If we have to protest against our own government we will do it,” he said.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Warring, a former president of All India Youth Congress, quoted from newspaper reports about a recent accident in which three people were killed. “There have been five major accidents in past 11 days,” he said.
“Can’t we lodge a case against them? Will they continue to crush people,” asked Warring.
The Congress MLA said that there have been instances during the previous government when family members of accident victims have been forced to enter into a compromise. “We had been agitating about this issue when we were in opposition too,” he said.
Warring asked the Transport Minister why the permits of such bus companies, which were involved in repeated accidents, could not be cancelled. “There is no training of bus drivers,” he said. Addressing Finance Minister Manpreet Badal, Warring said, “FM saab it is your responsibility to get a law passed through cabinet to nail these transporters”.
He also drew the attention of the Transport Minister towards the issue that there was no law to act against such private transporters. “The law should have a provision to close down such bus companies. If we have to protest against our government for it, we will… We will not allow people be crushed on roads,” Warring said.
Replying to the MLA, Aruna Chaudhary said that she commiserated with Warring over the deaths caused by bus accidents. She said the laws which were required to be implemented already existed and that they will be further improved. “Refresher courses will be run for the drivers,” she said.
Chaudhary also said that for more than a decade no government bus had run in the constituency of Warrring and that after the Congress government came to power two government buses had been deputed for the area.
Leader of Opposition, Harpal Cheema, agreed with the Congress MLA on the gravity of the problem. He said that there was a need to enhance the punishment awarded for rash and negligent driving. “Section 304 A of the IPC should be amended and the punishment increased from two years to 10 years,” he said.