Jamshedpur : Commuters are facing harrowing time as buses have gone off road for poll duty. Hundreds of buses plying within Jharkhand and inter state are ferrying polling parties and security personnel, reducing availability of public transport.
Several commercial vehicles, including passenger buses and pick-up vans, were detained by poll officials and were made to park at the Jamshedpur Co-operative College – converted to a strongroom for the Lok Sabha elections.
The bus owners, who were earlier not keen to give their vehicles to the district administration on poll duty owing to outstanding dues of previous services, have agreed to provide their vehicles on deputy commissioner (DC) Amitabh Kaushal’s assurance. Kaushal is also a district election officer.
“After assurance from the DC that the payment due will be paid in a day or two, we agreed to let them hire the buses for election duty,” said Sanjay Pandey, functionary of Sikshit Berojgar Mini Bus Association.
Adhering to the directive of district transport officer East Singhbhum, Sanjay Kujur and district transport officer of Seraikela-Kharsawan, Neelam Lata, the Shikshit Berozgar Mini Bus Association (SBMBA), an outfit comprising operators of private buses, handed over 90 buses for poll duty in East Singhbhum and similarly 20 others for election duty in Seraikela-Kharsawan district.
The buses have been parked at Jamshedpur Cooperative College premises in Jamshedpur and near Seraikela-Kharsawan district collectorate.
Incidentally, state sponsored city buses are not plying on road for more than two months due to dispute over payment issues with JTDC.
Over 120 private buses ply on 14 routes criss-crossing the city and its outskirts and few to adjoining industrial belt of Adityapur, Gamharia and Kandra in neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan district and carry more than 1 lakh passengers daily.
The bus operators owners cited helplessness as violation of the order would have meant forcible seizure by the district administration on roads and further harassment to the passengers.
Kujur said that the exercise has started after directives from the deputy commissioner. The administration has sent a requisition for more than 500 vehicles.
The DTO said that they had started sending notice to the vehicle owners, asking them to surrender the vehicle ahead of the November 27 deadline and has also started seizing the commercial vehicles, including passenger bus.