STPS buses, Maxi Cabs under JNNURM gone kaput
SHILLONG, Dec 9: The Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA) has auctioned a total of 53 Shillong Public Transport Service services (SPTS) buses which are no longer in running condition. These buses were given to the State under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) to provide an efficient public transportation system and reduce the number of private vehicles on the road.
Chairman “We are planning to auction more of the STPS buses and even Maxi Cabs which are condemned,” MUDA Chairman and Urban Affairs Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar told reporters here on Thursday.
A senior official informed that the 53 buses have already been allotted to the two parties who emerged as the lowest bidders.
According to him, these buses have been auctioned as scrap.
The senior official informed that the first party was allotted with the buses manufactured by Tata Motors while the buses manufactured by Ashok Leyland have been allotted to another party.
He further informed that they will soon auction more STPS buses and Maxi Cabs after getting the approval of the Urban Affairs department.
It may be mentioned that there a large number of the STPS buses that are lying idle and parked in the different places of the city like Mawpat, Mawblei and Mawlai Mawïong.
The majority of these buses which are parked in these places are damaged and are not in running condition.
It is also noticed that there are buses which do not even have the front cover of the engine and even the tyres are missing.
Not only this, it was also noticed that even the seats have been destroyed. All these buses were purchased after 2012 onwards.
The shocking state of affairs is not only with the STPS buses since even Maxi Cabs which are commonly known as the Shillong Supplementary Public Transport are also in a pathetic condition.
Many Maxi Cabs which are parked inside the parking lot opposite State Bank of India (SBI) Main Branch are in shambles. The majority of these Maxi Cabs are badly damaged and the engine parts from these vehicles are also missing.
What is shocking is that the senior government official praised the various self help groups (SHGs) for smoothly operating these transport services for the benefit of the commuters of Shillong City.
Earlier, the decision of the government to hand over the buses to the SHGs seems to have been a big blunder considering that the buses were handed over without calling for tenders.
It is alleged that MUDA has till date not called for any tenders to operate the buses on the plea that the vehicles were handed over following an understanding between the groups and officials of the Department.
Sources also informed that the SHGs are not operating all the STPS buses since the operating cost of the vehicles is higher than the returns. “The decision not to put all the buses in operation defeats the very purpose of the Union Government to come up with the scheme.
The Centre has initiated the project to provide the commuters with affordable means of transportation,” inside sources said while adding that the SHGs have been given the buses without payment of the security deposit.
Normally when the Government outsources any utility to private individuals or groups the agreement should be such that the private party maintains the utility and runs it at a profit. In this case it appears as if the buses were given away to be run at the whims of the SHG/private individual. “No private commercial vehicle owner would run it at a loss,” said a taxi owner, adding that Government should have privatised the whole transport system. Others are of the opinion that these STPS buses and Maxi Cabs should not have been run as Government properties and with Government registration.
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