The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has resumed most of its services operating to Coimbatore. Some services were cancelled earlier due to issues of stone pelting and road blockades due to the Mullaperiyar issue. Long distance interstate services are currently operated on a convoy basis in Tamil Nadu, with police escort. Bus services from Kumily to Tamil Nadu continues to be disrupted.
Buses operated by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation through Walayar are not disrupted. Passengers have been patronising TN buses heavily owing to the risk of trip cancellations in Kerala buses.
The interstate services operated by Kerala State Road Transport Corporation to Tamilnadu has been affected adversely by the Mullaperiyar agitation. KSRTC has cancelled around 100 of the 427 Inter-state schedules operated to Tamil Nadu. KSRTC buses had been the target of protesters and there has been instances of stone-pelting at KSRTC buses in Coimbatore.
Further information from The New Indian Express:
“Officials of the Transport Department are in touch with their Tamil Nadu counterparts. We cannot continue suffering further damage as there are reports of pelting of stones on vehicles in many areas,” Transport and Devaswom Minister V S Sivakumar told Express.
Bangalore-bound buses from KSRTC depots in south and central Kerala are being diverted through the Kozhikode-Wayanad-Mysore route avoiding the Coimbatore-Salem belt.
“There are hardly any reports of attack on vehicles on the Pazhani-Pollachi route. The Nagercoil sector is the only trouble-free path now,” K M Irshad, Executive Director (Operations), KSRTC, told Express.
“Interestingly, operations of Tamil Nadu state government-owned buses in Kerala have not been hit,” Irshad said.
There is a change at the top management of KSRTC yet again. Alexander Luke, who took charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of KSRTC a few months ago, has put in his papers now. Alexander Luke, a Gujarat Cadre IAS Official, was brought to KSRTC with an aim of improving the fortunes of the corporation. He had earlier proved his mettle as the head of KMML. Mr. Luke has put in his papers owing to differences with the government over his renumeration package. The State government has named the MD of KTDC, Mr. Mohanlal, as the new CMD of KSRTC.
Volvo Buses India has slammed the brakes on KSRTC’s Orange Parade. News sources claim that KSRTC has not settled its dues with Volvo, and that Volvo has decided not to deliver buses to KSRTC until the dues are cleared. KSRTC had placed orders for 80 Low-Floor city buses, of which 62 have already been delivered (42 for Kochi and 20 for Trivandrum). This dims the chances of Kochi getting more of those swanky low-floor AC buses. Passengers in Kochi have recieved the buses whole-heartedly, and buses have been returning good collections.
More news from The New Indian Express:
Sources in Volvo said the company would deliver buses to the cities after the dues were cleared.
“However, the payment for the last set of buses which were delivered is yet to be cleared and the company has decided not to deliver the remaining buses,” sources said.
Though 80 buses were sanctioned for both the cities, the KSRTC had earlier decided to restrict the number of buses in Thiruvananthapuram to 20, owing to the poor response. It had also planned to roll out the remaining number of buses in Kochi.
However, a Corporation official said that the civic body was unaware of the issue. “Since the state government has not formed the special purpose vehicle (SPV) at the time of the launch of the buses, their operation is fully controlled by the KSRTC itself. They will not discuss any developments in this regard with the Corporation,” the official said.
“The buses were introduced as part of the public transport project under the JNNURM. The formation of the SPV for the management of these buses is mandatory as per the JNNURM guidelines. But the KSRTC has ignored this and conducted operations according to its plans,” the official said.
Embattling losses, the state run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has decided to scrap the Mini Buses it purchased about 7 years back. These buses were bought with the intention of operating frequent services to rural areas. In the initial days, the buses were very successful as well. The services turned loss making after the introduction of Venad series of buses. The realisation that both the buses require the same number of crew led to the management’s growing displeasure.
About 140 Minibuses are available at KSRTC as of today. Out of these, KSRTC has announced plans to scrap 90 minibuses. KSRTC will replace these with short wheel base buses. Most of the minibuses are not operational these days. KSRTC blames the lack of spares for this. These buses are not operationally profitable.
KSRTC Employees have been striking working in Trivandrum district. The strike call came in response to the death of a KSRTC staffer, who was grievously injured after being beaten by a lorry driver. The staffer, P Rajan, Driver attached to Vellarada depot, had an altercation with the crew of a lorry at Killi. The altercation led to the driver being manhandled. The altercation reportedly happened since the KSRTC bus did not allow the lorry to overtake.
Rajan was initially admitted to Kattakada Govt. Hospital, but was later shifted to Trivandrum Medical College since the injuries were serious. Rajan passed away while being shifted. Enraged by the death, KSRTC employees irrespective of their political affiliations have called for a 6 am to 6pm strike in Trivandrum District. They have announced that no KSRTC bus would be allowed to operate in the district today.
Ending days of uncertainty, KSRTC has finally called for tenders for supply of 500 new Passenger Bus Chassis. KSRTC stopped purchasing new buses in October 2010, and the body building units have been rendered jobless for the past few months. With KSRTC not purchasing new buses, old buses which were destined to be scrapped are being rejuvenated and are being run despite being overaged. The severe bus shortage has forced KSRTC to cancel services and also put off starting new services – resulting in severe losses.
Although the Minister has announced that the Corporation would purchase 1000 buses, tenders have been called only for 500 chassis. In the past year as well, KSRTC purchased only 700-odd buses, contrary to the minister’s claim of having purchased 1000 buses.