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Reining In Mayhem On The Roads

The day was marked by firm decisions aimed at making the killer stretches of Punjab roads less deadly, demolishing the cartelisation of goods carriages, which were hurting the already distressed industry, and breaking the near monopoly of a few private bus operators over profitable bus routes in the state, which had lead to state run bus operations turning sick.

The Punjab cabinet, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday, approved the Punjab Goods Carriages (Regulation and Prevention of Cartelization Rules), 2017, which bar good carriage operators from forming cartels or unions in the state. The proposed new rules will be placed in public domain for 30 days for comments and objections.

Reining In Mayhem On The Roads, Lifeinchd

Photo By: Life In Chandigarh
 
To protect the interests of transporters, following the abolition of truck unions, it was also decided that the government should fix minimum and maximum fares and freights for goods carriers. This would be done from time to time, in respect of different kinds of goods carriers on a per kilometre basis for wet and dry loads and for the transportation of livestock, keeping in view the different terrains to be traversed, the cost of fuel and maintenance, salaries and expenditure, and all other relevant factors pertaining to different kinds of goods carriages.
 
The cabinet also gave its green signal to the much-awaited new Transport Policy, while abolishing the system of DTOs and restructuring the Transport Department in order to streamline the issuance of permits and licences across commercial and private transport vehicles.
 
It was resolved that the state government will gradually increase the state transport undertakings’ share in the luxury bus service, currently controlled by bus cartels, with a target to eventually make this service state-controlled. 
 
The killer stretches of roads in the border state may become less deadly if the new initiatives, especially one of outsourced computerised eyes on the roads, announced on Wednesday by the Capt Amarinder Singh government, are effectively implemented.
 
The new rules envisage that each operator, within 6 months of grant of permit, will ensure that his buses are equipped with GPS tracking system and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as specified by the state government. This will enable monitoring of movement, speed, stoppages and regularity of the service of buses on permitted routes by the state government as well as the general public.
 
Operators would also have to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed inside the buses plying in, and entering, the state, to minimise chances of untoward incidents inside the buses and to ensure detection and appropriate action in case of such incidents. 
 
In addition, panic buttons would have to be installed in buses to trigger an SMS/Call to nearest police station along with GPS location of the bus. The bus operator would also mandatorily have to be part of a common digital platform with requisite devices in buses to enable common tickets/passes for passengers travelling on buses in the state.
 
The government, as per the new initiative, would endeavour to develop facilities, on an outsourced basis, to set up automatic facilities for detection of over-speeding and issuance of challans based on speed radars and vehicle number plate readers, along state and national highways. 
 
The state government would also be required to develop appropriate facilities, on an outsourced basis, to set up adequate automatic computerised testing stations for conducting annual fitness check of commercial vehicles. 
 
The state government would also make efforts to ensure that challans are issued by Police and Transport Departments only on online handheld machines linked to a central/cloud server.

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