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Jharkhand Transport department issues SOP for inter-district buses, prohibit increase in fares

Bus operators to meet CM and transport minister for permission to hike fare

Ranchi, July 1: Bus operators of Jamshedpur and other parts of the state are planning to meet Jharkhand chief minister Heman Soren and transport minister Champai Soren for permission to raise at least 40 percent of the fare due to the steep rise in diesel prices.

The decision was taken after Jharkhand transport commissioner Kiran Kumar Pasi issued a circular on Thursday evening on rules to be followed during inter-district bus services which has been permitted from July 1. The circular while permitting buses to run carrying passengers to their sitting capacity categorically mentioned that bus operators will not be allowed to increase fares.

“We have not increased buses fare since 2020 while the diesel fare and other products prices including lubricants and spares has increased manifold. The buses have been stranded since April and we have incurred huge financial losses. We cannot operate at the old fare.

We will be meeting state transport minister and Seraikela MLA Champai Soren and our delegation would also meet Jharkhand chief minister in a day or two to apprise about our problems and demand for permission to increase the fare by at least 40 percent to sustain ourselves,” said Upendra Sharma, a senior functionary of Jamshedpur Bus Owners Association.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Ranchi Bus Owners Association president Krishna Mohan Singh who expressed unhappiness over the circular prohibiting raise in passenger fare.

“We are happy that the government has agreed to our demands for the last few weeks to let us resume our operation so that our staff and we can sustain ourselves. We are incurring huge losses and our staff are staring at starvation. We have all our staff for mandatory use of masks by passengers and also do regular sanitisation of the buses seats. We might also start thermal scanning of passengers. But who will bear the additional cost and the fuel price which has crossed Rs 95 in Ranchi,” said Ranchi Bus Owners’ Association (RBOA), president Krishna Mohan Singh.

The circular by the state transport commissioner has mandated the bus operators to maintain records of the travel details, names, address and contact details of each of the passengers for contact tracing purpose in the eventuality of getting Covid positive and also directed all staff of the buses to get vaccinated before starting the bus service.

It also directs the buses to have their windows opened for cross ventilation, mandagtory keeping of spray sanitisers and sanitise each seats before staring of the journey, ensure that no passenger or staff uses tobacco, prohibition of allowing passengers to sit in the driver’s chamber, ensuring social distance while alighting from the buses and ensuring proper sanitation

Bus operators, hoteliers and restaurant owners heaved a sigh of relief as Jharkhand government lifted prohibition on their operations, after over two months, due to the Covid induced lockdown restrictions.

As per the new guideline issued by the Jharkhand government, inter-district buses can operate to their capacity abiding Covid standard operating procedures from July 1 though the partial lockdown would continue till further order. 

The restaurant and bar operators termed it as a delayed decision but still welcomed it. 

“It should have been done in mid-June itself when the cases started declining. In any way we would have adhered to strict Covid protocols and prevented gathering. The situation is such that we are now almost neck deep in financial crisis due to the lockdown which was imposed on April 22. However, we welcome the decision of the government and would operate with the mandatory 50 per cent capacity,” said Gurusharan Singh, a senior functionary of Jharkhand Restaurant and Bar Association and a Ranchi-based restaurant owner.

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