Bhopal: Poorly maintained buses adds to commuters woes

Bhopal: In over ten years, municipal corporation has managed to recover only Rs 1 crore from the amount it invested in Bhopal City Link Limited (BCLL) – city bus services introduced to bolster  public transport system in the state capital.

The very purpose of the bus service to provide better connectivity to people at affordable price and to reduce the use of private vehicle has also been defeated. Poorly maintained low-floor buses have failed in providing a convenient ride to the passengers.

Initiated in 2009, BCLL – a wholly owned subsidiary of Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC)-  had purchased as many as 225 buses at cost of Rs 50 crore.  The agency had then handed over its operation to private player- Prasanna Purple. The private transport operator was allowed to ply BCLL buses on the BRTS – designated exclusively for them on a fixed royalty. Later in 2014 another private company was awarded the contract.

In over a decade since this service was introduced, the corporation has received only Rs 1 crore in return, while the investment was as huge as Rs 50 crore. The responsibility of the maintenance of the buses was given to operator, however, for them was never a priority. In all these years only 9 buses have been discarded and the rest which are on the roads are in bad shape. The poorly maintained buses are regularly developing snags causing much inconvenience to commuters.

BCLL director Kewal Mishra said the bus service was introduced to strengthen public transport and not to earn profit. We had purchased these buses way back in 2009 and are going to induct 40 new mini buses by September end, informed the director. We have discarded 9 buses and would further stop the operation of the vehicles which have completed their tenure, said Mishra. If required we would ask new operator Durgamma travels to purchase new buses, he added.

Mohammad Sageer, leader of opposition in the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that the private operators completely failed to maintain the buses, even the BCLL authorities never bothered thus entire exercise has failed to serve the purpose.

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