Badals’ firms getting undue benefits, say pvt transporters
Private bus operators in Punjab have demanded parity in concessions and rules vis-à-vis Orbit Aviation – the transport company owned by the ruling Badal clan. Rather looking for removal of discrepancy in schedule of buses, the transporters have also claimed that the companies owned by the Badals should not be exempted from taxes.
A meeting of private bus operators was held under the aegis of the Punjab Motor Union on May 12th. More than 200 transporters from across the state participated.
Expressing resentment over concessions given to certain bus drivers, the union wished that the system of giving the private buses on contract should be done well. The bus runners in Malwa belt, including ministers and politicians who are in the transport trade, have lent their buses on contract against a lump sum amount.
RS Bajwa, secretary, Punjab Motor Union, told The Tribune that it was discussed in the meeting, held under the leadership of former MLAs Avtar Henry (Congress) and Jagdish Sahni (BJP), how the time table allotted to various operators was tilted in favour of buses owned by the ruling party leaders.
Bajwa said, “The buses operated by companies of ruling party leaders get 15-20 minutes at each bus stop while the remaining operators are not allowed to halt buses for more than 2-3 minutes. Therefore there is no level playing field. Their buses get enough time and hence run to full capacity.”
The bus operators also took up the issue of bus stop fee (“adda” fee) of Rs40-Rs50 per trip at a bus stand. They blamed the fee was not being charged from the buses owned by ruling party leaders. They also pointed out the matter of unusual frequency of trips allowed to transporters enjoying political clout and demanded that the time table be changed so that at any given instant of time, a private bus as well as a government bus was available to ferry passengers.