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Uttarakhand Roadways buses in bad shape in the hills

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Uttarakhand Roadways buses in bad shape in the hills


Pithoragarh, June 14

Old rickety buses, lack of spare parts and unwillingness of the state government to refurbish the fleet of buses have become a bane of the Uttarakhand Road transport buses which are the main mode of transportation for common man in the Uttarakhand hills.

Often passengers travelling in the roadways buses of the state government in this interior border district have to suffer because of breakdown of the old buses and lack of spare parts leading to immense inconvenience to the passengers.

“It is a common sight when the roadways buses stop midway due to break down and lack of spare parts or old buses in the hills as most of passengers suffe,” Mohan Singh, a resident of Tarigaon village, who works in Delhi and often comes to his village with family.

Most of the passengers prefer to travel in the roadways buses as they run on time, have space and take responsibility of the passengers.”If the state roadways gets weak, the passengers playing on long distances from this remote part of state, will be robbed by private operators who charge four times than roadways fare, without any responsibility,” said the passenger.

Once dominant transport agency having a convoy of 84 buses playing in all local hill routes besides plying in plains areas, the Tanakpur roadways now operate on limited  distant routes only.”The local routes have been taken from roadways and given to  private operators resulting into losses to the roadways,” said a roadways official on the condition of anonymity.

” A total of 18 routes, we cover on daily basis from Pithoragarh, on which over 600 passengers travel daily as these buses  ply to Delhi, Dehradun, Bareilly, Gurgaon Lucknow and Tanakpur, distant places which are more than 150 km distance,” said Ravi Shekhar Kapri, Assistant Regional Manager of Tanakpur region of roadways.

According to Pawan Mehra, Regional Manager of Tanakpur region including Tanakpur, Lohaghat and Pithoragarh depot, the oldest roadways region in Kumaon region, came into operation in the year 1960.

“Presently, we are  operating over 300 buses to different routes that carry over 5000 passengers to their destinations on daily basis. Due to lack of spare parts or expired engines, 16 buses have gone off road in Tanakpur depot only,.”said Suresh Chandra Pandey, foreman of Tanakpur depot workshop.

According to a  driver of roadways depot, gradually the long route buses of all 3 depots of Tanakpur region are heading towards shut down as eight buses of Pithoragarh depot are standing in Tanakpur due to some faults in engines.” Most of the long distance buses are old and some have run 9 lakh kilometres much beyond the permissible six lakh kilometres for hill region. Most of these buses have neither springs, nor break drum and steering pumps, leading to frequent breakdown,” said a roadways driver.

According to PIthoragarh depot sources the depot has not received any new bus after 2019 and need at least 40 new buses. There is need of 10 new buses per depot in all 20 depots of roadways in Uttarakhand. The Pithoragarh depot is presently running 58 buses out of which 40 buses have expired the mileage capacity.

The sources said that due to rugged road conditions during construction of all weather road from Tanakpur to Pithoragarh in the past years, most of the long distance roadways buses are  damaged.”We should be given compensation package for these damaged buses,” said a roadways employee.

“We are running only 109 buses out of 125 sanctioned capacity due to lack of spare parts and new buses,” said the Regional Manager.

The state government is constructing an interstate bus terminal at Tanakpur due to  special interest shown by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. “After the work on this Rs. 56 crore worth bus stand  gets completed, we hope the region will get new buses,”said Pawan Mehra, the RM.

Deepak Jyala, a foreman of Pithoragarh depot workshop, when asked on what are reasons, the passengers are complaining about the operations of roadways buses n from Pithoragarh,  said that due to lack of 40 percent technical staff at workshop, they are not able to do preventive maintenance of the buses, playing on distant routes.”Had there been a central workshop of roadways in Uttarakhand state like that was at Kanpur, the damaged buses could be maintained. Due to lack of that facility, we are facing shortage of spare parts as the depot is situated at long distance from regional headquarter at Tanakpur,” said Jyala.

According to the foreman, due to lack of preventive measures the rate of breakdown in all 1200 trips on 18 routes on daily basis is getting 3 percent in place of 1 percent that was  normal in smooth running of buses.



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