Ensure women’s safety, CM advises bus operators


Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Thursday advised all bus operators in the State to maintain a good reputation by ensuring the safety of women, like the motorcycle taxi pilots. Speaking after the launch of a new Goa State Bus Owners’ Association at Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim, he advised them to create a positive image and keep a check on the criminal record of non-Goan conductors. 
“Goan motorcycle (taxi) pilots have kept a reputation. Women are also among their passengers. I have not come across any complaints from pillion passengers…… about genuine pilots,” he said in the presence of Transport Minister Sudin Dhavalikar, association members and nearly 80 bus operators including drivers and conductors. 
The chief minister expressed apprehension that several non-Goans are being given jobs in buses without verification. “Goan bus operators have kept the reputation…but now many outsiders are employed as conductors. Employ them but verify their background…..some are escapees from their native States because they are wanted by the police for some crime or the other,” he said. 
The new Goa State Bus Owners’ Association which elected Purshottam Halarnkar as its president, listed out some of their demands including increasing maintenance subsidy from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, common insurance of the private bus operators, granting permission for advertisements on private buses among others. 
Parrikar responded positively to this request with a condition that the functioning be executed with precautions. “It will be supported, there is no problem but take precautions (ensure safety)…I have told the transport minister to consider the subsidy demand. Your legitimate demands will be discussed in the future meeting,” he said. 
In the same breath, he said that the bus operators should maintain a good rapport with the government. “Don’t spoil your relation with the government. Point mistakes, but don’t be in bad books of the government,” he said. 
The association members asserted of being a non political outfit, while hinting at the political touch that the All Goa Bus Owners Association, which has its general secretary Sudip Tamhankar also as Congress spokesman, has acquired. [H]