New Punjab transport policy to end monopolisation

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Chandigarh, April 5 (IANS) With transport companies closely linked to political leaders and families allegedly monopolising the lucrative transport sector in Punjab in the past decade, the new Congress government on Wednesday announced that it will end the “current monopolistic control” with a new transport policy to be revealed within two weeks.

Claiming to “initiate a series of sweeping reforms to streamline the transport system in Punjab”, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday directed officers to introduce initiatives to overhaul the ailing transport system in Punjab.

“These include restructuring of the 22 DTO (District Transport Officer) offices and a more transparent system of permit allotment. The four RTA (Regional Transport Authority) offices at Patiala, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Bathinda will also be restructured to make them more seamless and hassle-free,” a spokesman said here.

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“While examining the existing permits and their legality, the new transport policy, to be drafted through statewide consultations among various stakeholders, will seek to create a level playing field for private players while facilitating unemployed youth,” he added.

The new policy will affect 750 private bus route permits, 1,840 extensions beyond 24 km of original routes and 6,700 mini bus permits.

Finance Minister Manpreet Badal suggested the introduction of a fleet of integrated coaches of elite buses to be operated on premier inter-city roads to end the monopoly of private operators on these routes.

In line with the Congress manifesto promise, the meeting decided that the transport department would provide one lakh taxis, commercial LCVs and other vehicles every year to the unemployed youth at subsidised rates.

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“Under the ‘Apni Gaddi Apna Rozgar’ scheme, the state government will stand guarantee and no collateral would be required for the loan, which the youth would need to repay in five years. The department will tie up with major taxi operators such as Ola, Uber etc for the implementation of the scheme,” the spokesman said.

The revenue growth in the state’s transport sector in the past 5-7 years had been around 7-8 per cent, with a revenue collection of Rs 873 crore from commercial vehicles and Rs 676 crore from personal light vehicles during fiscal 2016-17.

–IANS

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