Delinquent ASTC staff

On the other day, I along with my wife and daughter boarded an ASTC bus at hill-top stand while returning from Kamakhya temple. All the seats were by then occupied and we three took standing position in the aisle. There were few other passengers sparsely standing in the aisle and all of us werte waiting to see the bus start immediately. But disregarding our intense entreaties, the bus driver on his seat turned a deaf ear while the conductor down on the road kept on calling passengers. The bus was soon jam-packed from the two footboards to all the spaces available inside. The extra passengers were definitely much more than the number of seated ones and the bus tilted on the side with the passengers’ weight. Slowly it began moving, while passengers dangerously leaned on the footboards. I had earlier protested, but the conductor each time rebuffed me with mocking remarks. As the journey was on sloping road along at least 3 km distance to foothill stop, it was a hair-raising ride. I saw that while negotiating many turnings, the bus was always at the risk of losing balance and falling down the hillside.

The journey was hazardous but this is an everyday happening going on unchecked within the city. Kamakhya temple is a famous pilgrimage centre in India and is visited by devotees from faraway places. The ASTC authority is aware of the fact that the buses are carrying passengers in far excess of capacity but are ignoring this matter and thereby putting hapless devotees to fatal risks. God forbid if an accident occurs, for then many devotees’ lives will be in peril. The state transporters are mandated to run an efficient and accident free transport system and they should immediately wake up to this vital aspect of passengers’ safety. Filly, I appeal to the Transport minister with the humble request to kindly intervene in the matter and put an end to the callous game played by bus conductors and drivers, posing great danger to the lives of daily commuters.

Panlal Dey,