To restructure the transport services state by streamlining the process of issuing licences and permits, the Punjab cabinet on 5 July 2017 approved a new Transport Policy. The new transport policy of Punjab abolishes the system of District Transport Officers (DTOs).
The cabinet has decided to set up a special task force of the vigilance department and the state police to crack down on all illegally plying buses. This task force will have to weed out all such buses in a phased manner in over two months.
Highlights of the Transport Policy
• Cancellation of permits and new allotments: After being implemented, permits of 5432 buses indulging in extension/diversion of routes and another 6700 minibuses, besides 78 internal luxury coaches, will be cancelled and allotted afresh.
• Lots for new permits: The new law says that lots will be drawn to allot permits if the number of eligible applications received for a particular route is more than the number of permits.
• Limit of permits for private operators: The new law says that in the case of private operators, not more than 25 per cent of the total permits on a particular route will be issued to one firm/party/person. It says the permits issued under this scheme will be valid for a period of five years from the date of issue. Upon renewal, the permits shall be valid for a period of five years from the date of renewal.
• Plan to increase state transport undertakings: Via this new transport law, the government seeks to gradually increase the state transport undertakings share in luxury bus service. This will help the state to eventually make it state controlled facility. Reports suggest that at present the share in luxury bus service is controlled by the Badals.
The share of state transport authority, Punjab Roadways and PRTC in the inter-state, point-to-point super integral coach service on contract carriage basis will be raised gradually, thus eventually ending the private mafia control over these high-revenue bus routes.
• Timeline for implementation of the scheme: The state government will seek a time period of three months from the courts to implement the scheme in a phased manner. This phased implementation will ensure that the public is not inconvenienced by a large number of buses expected to be taken off the roads following its execution.
Formulated in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Punjab & Haryana High Court and subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court, the new policy will be implemented after eliciting feedback from the public for 30 days and being fine-tuned according to inputs received from the general public.
• Creation of posts of secretary with jurisdictions: The government says that new posts of secretary will be created with their jurisdictions and they will be located in
a) Bathinda (for Bathinda, Mansa & Sri Muktsar Sahib)
b) Ferozepur (Ferozepur, Faridkot & Fazilka)
c) Patiala (Patiala & Fatehgarh Sahib)
d) Sangrur (Sangrur & Barnala)
e) Gurdaspur (Gurdaspur & Pathankot)
f) Amritsar (Amritsar & Tarn Taran)
g) Ludhiana (Ludhiana & Moga)
h) Mohali (Mohali & Ropar)
i) Jalandhar (Jalandhar & Kapurthala)
j) Hoshiarpur (Hoshiarpur & Nawanshahar)
Other decisions taken at the Cabinet level meet includes
Plan to dissolve Shivalik Dhauladhar Tourism Development Board: The cabinet has approved the dissolution of the Shivalik Dhauladhar Tourism Development Board. This board was constituted and headed by the former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal.
The cabinet has also decided to hand over the work of developing the area around Thein Dam at the Ranjit Sagar Lake as a tourism/theme destination to the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB). The board had initiated the process of development of a tourist destination around the lake under PPP mode by taking funds from PIDB.
Who: New transport policy
When: 5 July 2017
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