RTI expose: 110 Star Buses out of 470 grounded and gathering rust

Nagpur: The shabby public transport system in the Second Capital City of Nagpur, with a population of 30 lakh plus, could be gauged from the fact that out of 470 bus being run by Nagpur Municipal Corporation 110 buses have been grounded for repairing purpose. And out of these 110 non-running buses, 60 buses have been straightaway dumped in scrapyard owing to ‘beyond repair’ status. Of the 470 buses, 230 are being run by the truant Star Bus operator Vansh Nimay Infraprojects Ltd (VNIL) and remaining 240 buses are running under JNNURM Scheme. The 60 scrap buses are literally gathering rust and dust days after days as not a single bus has been sold to earn whatever amount of revenue for the cash strapped NMC.

This information was revealed by NMC in an RTI reply to a poser put up by reputed RTI activist Abhay Kolarkar.

The RTI reply further informs that the Star Buses have killed 23 persons and injured 68 in the total of 79 accidents that took place in the period from 2013 to February 29, 2016. Many of the victims’ kin have filed cases in courts for compensation but the NMC has paid Rs 2.28 lakh towards ex-gratia/medical treatment of victims from January 2013 to February 29, 2016.

The Star Bus operator Vansh Nimay Infraprojects Ltd was slapped a fine of Rs 12.28 lakh including Rs 6.49 lakh for ill-maintaining the buses and Rs 5.79 lakh for not running buses on sanctioned routes. The revenue earned through ticket fares is deposited in the account of VNIL. The VNIL owes the Regional Transport Office (RTO) a pending amount of Rs 7.93 crore on account of passenger tax and child nutrition cess. The Star Bus operator has not paid the tax amount to RTO since the year 2007 despite several reminders by the NMC. However, VNIL has paid Rs 6.76 crore towards bus insurance, RTO/Police challan and road tax in the period from 2012-13 to 2015-16 finacial years, the RTI reply said.