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Get Illegal Buses Off the Roads, Now : Amarinder

'Eitt chukko tei mafia milega' (pick up a brick and you will find a mafia). Punjab has come to such a pass. And less than three months into his tenure as Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, leading the Congress to a landslide victory in the February elections largely on the plank of providing a corruption-free government, is increasingly coming under pressure to rein in these mafias. His first attempt to put brakes on the mafias, through e-auctioning of the sand mines, has already landed him in a controversy over allegations of his Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh cornering 'benami' contracts. Now it's the rampaging transport mafia, largely controlled by the political class, which is giving him sleepless nights.

Under pressure to perform in a hurry, and hyper sensitive about media criticism on these issues, Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered an immediate crackdown on illegal private buses plying on Punjab roads which are known to have captured prime timings on busy routes, leading to losses to state transport and corporation buses.

Get Illegal Buses Off the Roads, Now : Amarinder, Lifeinchd

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

Handing out a serious warning to the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) at a regular meeting of the state cabinet, the Chief Minister said no laxity in the matter would be tolerated and officials found guilty of dereliction or complicity would have to face penal action and punishment. 

An official spokesman said Capt Amarinder Singh directed the RTA to ensure that these buses, plying in blatant violation of the rules, are removed from the roads without further delay. The Chief Minister sought the intervention of the Vigilance Department in the matter and expeditious finalisation of the state transport policy to clean up the mess.
Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha H.S. Phoolka in a statement observed that there has been no effect on the Transport Mafia in the state despite a change of guard. He demanded immediate cancellation of all illegal permits and revival of the state transport system.

Pointing to political class in the state which was controlling the multi-crore transport business, he said the mafia is making hay at the cost of the state exchequer with the active connivance of political leaders. The Amarinder Singh government had failed to take action against the thousands of illegal permits issued by the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party, contrary to the promises made in the Congress election manifesto, he maintained.

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