Condemning Goa University students’ unwarranted protest, private bus owners have hit back by demanding compensation from the government for 50 per cent concession scheme afforded to students by them, since nowhere in the country do private operators grant such concessions, thus causing loss to them.
The subsidy should be paid through Social Welfare Department, they said.
The bus owners have also threatened to launch point-to-point bus service on lines of KTC shuttle service, where 50 per cent concession is not granted to students, if the unwarranted protest by students continues and government fails to fulfill their demand.
Addressing a press conference, All Goa Private Bus Owners Association (AGPBOA) general secretary Sudip Tamhankar alleged that the strike was instigated by the BJP said instead students should protest against the Transport Minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar and the department for not listening to their grievances which would have helped smooth functioning of the transport system.
Tamhankar said the bus owners condemn the incident where inconvenience was caused to commuters due to stoppage of buses for hours by students. “The protest by Goa University students was basically backed by BJP-led government. They were specifically targeting private buses while KTC shuttle service was left out though they don’t entertain 50 concessions to students,” he observed.
Tamhankar admitted that there are several issues related to students and private buses. However, he said that these issues have not cropped up now, but have been there for years due to failure of Transport Minister Ramakrishna Dhavalikar and Transport Department to act on the demands of private buses.
“We have put across several demands that would help in smooth operations of public transport system; however, no attention has been paid to these demands. So rather than protesting against us, students need to protest against the department and demand that minister be replaced,” he added.
The private bus operators have also accused the state government of not providing them adequate security, which is required to obey different rules under Motor Vehicle Act.
Tamhankar said that the complaints lodged by the private buses crew are taken ‘lightly’ by Police Department. “Police refuse to entertain our complaints. They take things lightly when passengers assault our staff in the bus,” Tamhankar said
The bus owner said that the male passenger refused to vacate the seat meant for women. We have now asked women to take the onus to wrest their rightful seats in the buses, he added. [H]