Punjab Transport Minister Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, on Thursday, again vowed for the absolute transparency in the working of the department and zero tolerance policy towards the defaulters defrauding the government coffers.Addressing a press conference for highlighting achievements of his 21 days as the Transport Minister here at Punjab Bhawan, Raja Warring said that it is proud moment that the transport department is again gaining momentum with an increase of 17.24 per cent in income, which amounts to Rs.7.98 crores up till October 15. He informed that the collection of the Govt Buses Punjab Roadways and PRTC was Rs.46.28 Crore between September 15 to 30 and increased to Rs.54.26 Crore between the period of October 1 to October 15, saying that daily collection of transport department has been increased Rs.53 lac approximately.Terming the action against tax defaulters and illegal permits holders as Justifiable, Raja Warring said that it was necessitated to separate the wheat from the chaff for reinstating people trust as the tax which the defaulters bus operators have been evading for the last 10 months, has already been collected by them from passengers in the form of tickets.The Transport Minister disclosed that around 258 buses have been impounded/Challaned so far due to non payment of taxes, illegal permits, documents etc. And, after strictness against defaulters, the department has collected Rs.3.29 crore as part of pending government tax and majority of the amount deposited by the big companies/operators.Mr. Raja Warring clarified, "No leader even from opposition parties has claimed that we did anything wrong by adopting harshness against tax defaulters."He said that the department has conferred more powers to General Managers of Bus Depots. Apart from RTAs, now General Managers have been empowered to check the vehicles in the 500 meters surrounding area of the Bus stand.
RS.400 FOR NEW BUS STANDS/WORKSHOPS AND UPGRADATION
MR. Amarinder Singh Raja Warring informed that Rs.400 Crore will be incurred on the new bus stands/workshops and for upgradation. Of which, 52 new bus stands will be constructed with Rs.230 Crore, while 70 bus stands to be upgraded with a cost of Rs.45 Crore. Similarly, Rs.81 crore will be spent on new construction and upgradation of 16 Workshops.
842 NEW BUSES AND 800 RECRUITMENTS
The Transport Minister said that the purchase order for procuring 842 new buses (587 for Punjab Roadways and 255 for PRTC) has already been given to Tata Motors and within 45 days, these new buses will be on the roads of the state. He specifically mentioned that the recruitment process of around 800 drivers, conductors & other staff has been initiated for these news buses.
NO PENDENCY IN DL/RC TOLERATED
The Minister said that the officers have been directed to clear pendency of the driving licenses and registration certificates at the earliest. All the 32 Driving and Testing Tracks will be opened on Saturdays so that working & other people can go for testing on that day. Apart from this, days for booking slots have been increased from 30 to 45 days. He said that the centralized outsource agency for generating smart driving licenses and registration certificates have to dispatch the DL/RC within the prescribed time frame as per the agreement, otherwise penalties will be imposed on the company for delay. The Minister said that now the commercial/non commercial vehicle can be inspected at any nearest location irrespective of the location you applied. He said that "Pendency Melas" will be organized to sort out the pendencies related to DL/RC & other RTA office related issues and the first "Pendency Mela" will be organized in Sri Muktsar Sahib.
OTHER IMPORTANT INITIATIVES
Mr. Raja Warring said that to keep Bus stands and buses neat and clean, a cleanliness drive has been launched and every fortnight all the employees of the department are participating in cleanliness campaign across all bus stands of the state.Reiterating zero tolerance towards drugs, the minister apprised that advertisements pertaining to tobacco, pan masala etc. have been removed from government buses. "If anybody finds advertisements on buses or any violation of transports rules of any sort, he can directly contact on my personal whatsapp number 94784-54701", the minister urged the public.For ensuring security of passengers, the Minister said, the vehicle tracking system are monitoring the behavior of drivers and conductors towards the public besides over speeding and other activities, based on which three each best performing drivers and conductors would be honoured at each depot at every fortnight, while 11 drivers and 11 conductors will be honoured at state level every month. He said that a proposal for bus passes for children studying in private schools/colleges, engineering and medical colleges has been sent to the concerned ministers for further approval."I wrote letters to my cabinet colleagues and MLAs for seeking their valuable suggestions in taking Punjab on the path of further progress, said the Minister, who was accompanied by Principal Secretary Mr. K. Siva Prasad, Director State Transport Mr. Bhupinder Singh Rai, PRTC MD Mr. Amit Talwar and other officials of the department.