Even as a top official stated recently that the KSRTC had not even applied for permits to operate its Volvo buses between Mangalore and Udupi, president of the Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti Hanumantha Kamath has found that the KSRTC has paid Rs. 1,71,900 to the Dakshina Kannada Regional Transport Authority for permits to operate its buses within the city and between Udupi and Mangalore.
Through an RTI application to the Mangalore division of KSRTC here, Mr. Kamath found that between November 4, 2004 and December 16, 2009, the Regional Transport Authority received 18 applications from the KSRTC seeking permits for operating 103 routes in the region, including the Udupi-Mangalore route.
However, Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj, on February 5, said that the Regional Transport Authority, which he heads, had not received any application for introduction of KSRTC buses between Udupi and Mangalore.
The issue gains significance in the light of repeated promises made by Transport Minister R. Ashok that Government-owned buses would soon be introduced in the region to counter the monopoly and growing clout of private bus operators.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Kamath said, “On what basis did the Deputy Commissioner make such a claim? Has he been misguided by RTO officials or is he trying to hide the facts?”
Mr. Kamath pointed out that the RTA had not responded to KSRTC’s applications. “They (RTA) have neither agreed nor disagreed to issue permits.
The applications have not even figured in the several RTA meetings and adalats conducted in the past few months,” he said.
Alleging that the private bus owners’ lobby was behind the attempts to stall the introduction of government buses, he said that several other concessions had been made by the authorities towards private buses. “Some private buses are entering the State Bank of India bus-stop without permits. But the authorities look the other way,” he said.
Demanding that the district administration immediately initiate steps to introduce government buses from here to Udupi, Moodbidri, Karkala and Mudipu, in addition to city buses, Mr. Kamath said the new findings about the pending applications would be raised during the upcoming RTA adalat.