Students intensify their agitation


Coming on the heels of students protesting against mistreatment by private bus operators in Ponda and Margao, students on Wednesday blocked a number of private buses at the KTC bus stand in the capital city claiming that private bus operators are harassing them for paying concessional bus fares.
The police rounded up the agitating students, but later released them with a warning.
Rallying under the banner of the Goa University Student Council, the students began their protest at the KTC bus stand at 4.30 p.m.  They started protesting against the injustice perpetrated by private bus operators first at the entrance of the Panaji bus stand. But   later they moved towards the exit point of the bus stand, shouting slogans against the private bus operators.
The students sat on the road and tried to stop the buses from leaving the bus stand.
The GUSC president, Mr Gaurang Panandikar said that students are unhappy over the failure of the transport authorities to address their grievances.
The council members are likely to meet the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar on this issue with a memorandum.  
He informed that on December 27, 2012 a memorandum explaining problems faced by the students who travel in private buses was sent to the director of transport but nothing has been done so far.
The assistant collector, Mr Deepak Dessai and transport officials tried to pacify the students, but they insisted on seeing the director of transport, Mr Arun Dessai.
The transport director later told The Navhind Times that they have taken action upon receiving complaints from students.
“Earlier we had detained a bus operating on Panaji-Ponda route for not allowing students to commute,” he said.
He counselled the students to travel in small groups in different buses. If they see buses are filled up with passengers then they can board other buses to avoid overcrowding.
During the protest one bus conductor abused the protesting students and assaulted one of them, which worsened the situation. However, the policemen stepped in and rounded up all the agitating students and the bus conductor.
Later, the students were released with a warning. Students have filed a complaint against the bus conductor.
The students alleged that the private bus conductors mistreat them, and often abuse them. They don’t allow the students to get on the buses and force them to travel standing in crowded buses. Often the bus conductors don’t return the balanced money to the students.
Everyday the students go through the ordeal of mistreatment by private bus conductors in  the overcrowded buses.
Many students who commute from Panaji towards  Miramar, Mapusa, Ponda, Margao, Sankhali, Pernem, Chimbel and other intra-state routes are at the receiving end for travelling on ‘half-ticket’.
The anguished students characterised some bus conductors as most terrible in mistreating them. They alleged that buses operating on the routes from Panaji to Chimbel, Panaji to Mapusa and Panaji to Taleigao refuse to charge them concessional bus fare during peak hours.
Many college students charged that private bus operators, including city buses and long-route buses, do not allow them to board buses especially during peak hours and sometimes force them to travel standing.
However, city bus operators said their business was fully dependent on students and claimed that they always charge half-ticket from students without even insisting on students’ ID cards.
The city bus operators alleged that long-route buses refuse to take in students during peak hours and ply with only office-goers and tourists who pay full bus fares. [NT]