Within 5 years, high-end buses dumped at ASTC workshops, never to emerge thereafter
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Nov 22: The same bus which a private owner operates for 15years is dumped by the Assam government in four to five years.
The Assam State Transport Corporation has dumped hundreds of city buses - most of which are less than five years old - at its workshop because of minor problems, an act that has raised many an eyebrow.
In 2010, the State had received 182 buses (150 of them low-floor) under the JnNURM. In 2015, 227 buses, including 27 with AC, were provided under the Central scheme.
Most of the low-floor buses procured in 2010 have been currently left to rust at the ASTC central workshop located at Rupgar area of the city. The low-floor buses were procured keeping in view the needs of women, elderly and physically-challenged passengers.
"The drivers have a craze for new vehicles. So they tend to dump the old vehicles at the workshop even at the slightest of sgs which otherwise can be repaired easily," said an insider at the ASTC. And once the buses get into the workshop, they hardly come out.
There are some 600 drivers with the ASTC.
As new buses continue to come in, old ones are disappearing from the roads.
The buses procured in 2010 were kept unused for nearly a year in the wake of a tug-of-war between the GMDA and ASTC. "As they were kept unused for a long time, half of their lifespan have gone," said the source.
According to the State Transport Workers Association, the ASTC currently has around 1,300 buses of which only 550 are on the road.
The workers association also admits that the corporation has failed to meet even 30 per cent of the transport requirement of the people.
"The ASTC clearly lacks foresightedness and vision. It is a clear case of wastage of public money. Would the ASTC officials and drivers give similar treatment to the buses if these were bought with their own money? Surely not. It is easy to feast on other's money," says Sanghamitra Baruah, a citizen who stays near the ASTC workshop at the city.