Kozhikode, Aug 27: It is normal that people forget things and incidents, even big newsbreaks that have shaken up an entire community, by the passage of time.
And, this has happened in the case of the controversial “Kallada-Bangalore bus issue” that not only exposed the criminality of the bus crew but also revealed illegal plying of hundreds of inter-state buses.
Corrective measures named “operation night riders” by the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) to nab the inter-state buses without a permit and violate several norms got underway hinting positive changes but died a natural death.
And as usual, things continue with and without the passive blessings for the authorities, for obvious reasons. The violations were not just in their permit but included in facilities for the passengers, which neither the MVD or the Government still consider to get enforced. Though the illegality of the bus operation were addressed by the authorities, the facilities for the passengers at the offices of the contract carriages are still neglected.
It is estimated that about 6,000 to 8,000 passengers commute from Kerala cities to Bangalore, Chennai, Covai and other destinations every day.
Bangalore bus episode
It was with great concern and horror that the video of the crew of the Kallada Travels, the inter-state contract carriage major, attacking few of the Bangalore-bound passengers on April 20, got viral in the social media since April 22.
The authorities were forced to act as the entire media in Kerala and even outside took up the issue very seriously. The news break and its aftermath resulted in the revelation of more and more criminal and inhuman actions by the crew of the inter-[state buses, mostly plying to and fro Bangalore.
Though the committed action by the MVD found good results in curbing illegal operation by most among the 400-odd interstate contract carriages, the operators association. under the banner of the association had gone on an indefinite strike from June 24. The strike was to mark their protest against the government's special drive to book bus operators violating norms.
However, this badly affected the transit of passengers to Bangalore, thanks to the absence of adequate KSRTC buses and trains in this route. No wonder, the week-long strike was called off following talks with the state Government. Expressing its concern over the harassment by the MVD the representatives of Inter-state Bus Owners Association (IBOA) assured the government that they would maintain a proper list of passengers and set up a redressal forum to address their grievances. The MVD was supposed to continue their action in penalising those operating without a permit and violate several norms.
Though the interference and media expose helped check the criminal attitude of the crew, no other measures for the passengers were in place even after four months. Provision of resting and urinal facilities at the operator’s offices and necessary toilet breaks are still a dream for the passengers.
Proper sitting facilities, leave alone urinal facilities, are seldom seen in any of the offices of these bus operators, each having an office or share one in all the district headquarters. The passengers, the women in particular, make it to nearby hotels to urinate. And the fact remains that as most of these buses operates in the night, the safe waiting, travel and toilet breaks are a serious concern for the lady passengers.
The urinal facilities on the way is pathetic still and a nightmare for every lady passenger. “The toilet breaks are often at midnight or past 12 and at a remote location with a lone coffee shop or a hotel. The toilets are situated in a corner or behind the building with no adequate light or safety for a woman to use the toilet, leave alone the cleanliness of the facility. We use them as there is no option to satisfy the nature’s call”, a weekly lady commuter working in an IT firm in Bangalore said.
The hygiene and safety of these toilets have since long been a serious concern for the lady passengers, whose number about hundreds in the Bangalore segment alone.
But neither the operator’s association nor the Government is serious about providing a good and feel-safe toilet facilities for the passengers.(UNI)