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26 May 2017

Morcha barb at govt on bus registration

The buses bought by the GTA
Vivek Chhetri, TT, Darjeeling, May 25: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today alleged that the regional transport office here was not registering four buses bought by the GTA tourism department.
The GTA had purchased four air-conditioned buses at a cost of Rs 67 lakh in November to ferry tourists. With tourism season at its peak, there is a dearth of vehicles in the hills but the four buses have been lying unused.
Rohit Sharma, the Kurseong MLA of the Morcha, today said over phone from Calcutta: "A few months back in the Assembly, I had raised the issue of setting up a regional transport authority for the GTA area as mentioned in the GTA Act. Transport minister Subhendu Adhikari, however, told me that the GTA had purchased Volvo buses without taking the consent of the state government."
Although the minister said the buses' manufacturer was Volvo, the GTA had bought them from some other firm.
The MLA went on: "I was surprised by the answer. Do they want us the GTA to seek permission even to buy buses? To think about it now, the minister's statement now hints why buses bought by the GTA tourism department are not being registered. This shows how low they can stoop."
Section 27 of the GTA Act says: "There shall be a Regional Transport Authority for the GTA area with the district magistrate as the chairman and two non official members to be nominated by the chief executive."
However, a single RTA for the GTA area has not been created despite the hill body being in place for nearly five years now.
The RTA registers all vehicles and provides road permits.
The official was hinting that the issue probably was not limited to the district level. The RTO is under the district administration concerned.
Asked about the delay in the registration, Rajen Sundas, the regional transport officer, Darjeeling, said: "I am out of station and will be in my Darjeeling office on Monday. I cannot recollect the details immediately."
While the GTA has not been able to ply the buses, the state government has said 270 new buses will be introduced across Bengal, including eight in the Darjeeling hills and four each in the Dooars and Murshidabad.

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