Bus service may come to grinding halt as operators threaten wheel jam over non-payment of dues

Aapli Bus
Nagpur: The Red Bus service in city may come to a grinding halt as the private operators running the bus service have threatened to jam the wheels over non-payment of dues by Nagpur Municipal Corporation. In a one line letter to Municipal Commissioner and Transport Manager, the three bus operators have issued an ultimatum to the civic body to either pay up their dues or face the wheel jam. “Operational break down due to no funds expected anytime. For your information and necessary action,” was the content of the one line letter.

According to Transport Department sources, pending dues of Rs 30 crore are to be given to the private bus operators by the civic body. For the month of October alone, Rs 30 lakh each to be given to the operators. The full amount (around Rs 30 crore) for November and December is due. Apart from these pending dues, the civic body has also defaulted on payments due to Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS), Green Bus operator, SIS and Unity.

Escrow account:
Sources blamed the NMC’s Transport Department for the mess. They said NMC had even failed to open escrow account of Rs 60 crore for the Red bus operators. The civic body has also diverted revenue generated by city buses for other works. Had the NMC deposited it in escrow account, it could have made at least part payments to the operators, said sources and added the Transport Department was well aware of the loss incurred in operating city bus service.

Capable Manager needed:
The Red bus service runs for around 1.25 lakh commuters daily. According to a senior Transport Department official, NMC’s financial condition is not good. Despite this, NMC had made part payments to the three Red and one Green Bus operators till September. NMC could not pay the operators since October, the officer admitted. Sources further said the current Transport Manager has been found to be running the bus service in shabby manners. Several Corporators are likely to raise the issue in next General Body Meeting regarding the working style of the Transport Manager. The NMC administration and the ruling party should send the Transport Manager to his parent department and appoint Tiwari in his place, sources said.

Run Aapli bus service on Vansh lines if…
A crucial meeting between Transport Department officials and the office-bearers was held on December 27 last at NMC’s Headquarters. A recommendation was made in the meeting that the routes incurring losses should be shut down. At the same time, on the routes reaping profits more buses should be run. The previous bus operator, Vansh Nimay was running the buses only for profits. The NMC should toe the same line, was another recommendation. If NMC administration shows interest in these recommendations, then 360 buses would be off roads in future. Moreover, the plans to run women specials and mini buses would be in limbo.