Maybe it is a little too early, but this calls for a reality check. Nothing much surprising about the report that the inter-district bus and city bus services which have been re-introduced by the State Government on June 25 amid much fanfare are running on huge losses with the expenditure far outweighing the earning and here is hoping that the BJP led Government has something concrete to make up for this. Remember how the Manipur State Road Transport Corporation had to close down as it could no longer absorb the losses incurred in maintaining and running its fleet of buses. It is another matter that private bus services are still running strong, especially on all the routes where formerly MST and later MSRTC buses used to run.
This is where question may well be raised on whether the BJP led Government studied the option for first outsourcing the bus services to private players instead of opting to resort to this later. Not throwing in the towel yet, but wouldn’t it have made better sense to first invite the private players or test the ground and see if private players will indeed be interested in running the inter-district and city bus services first ? What if no private enterprise comes forward to become a partner in running the fleet of buses ? Would it mean that the Government will give a quiet burial to the grand plan of re-introducing public transport system ? Obviously the State Government must have studied all the possibilities before going ahead with the plan of re-introducing public transport, but as things stand today, the MST buses do not have seem to have fired the interest of the commuters. The rough calculation carried by The Sangai Express on the daily losses incurred by the fleet of buses should give all a fair idea of how it will drain the State exchequer.
One reason why the MST buses do not have that many takers is obviously due to the large scale option offered by private individuals and societies who run taxis connecting the districts. And most of the taxis are diesel auto rickshaws. The question is how does the Government intend to meet the challenges posed by the diesel autos and other taxi services offered by Tata Sumos, Tata Magic and others ? The task ahead is not easy and the Government need to study how these services have become such a roaring success. Banning diesel autos or any other services will amount to cutting off the hands that feed the people and the Government need to study beyond banning these services, but see how public transport run by the Government and the taxi services operated by private players can co-exist in perfect harmony. It is the job of the Government to find out the formula.
For instance, the Government may seriously study the option of limiting the entry of private taxis in the commercial centres of Imphal within a certain time that may be fixed. Make these taxis stop at designated places at the outskirt of Imphal, for example all private taxis coming from Thoubal/Lilong side may be asked to park near Singjamei during the peak hours. The parking lot for these vehicles will obviously have to be constructed. The same measure may be taken up at other points such as at Koirengei, beyond Lamlong Keithel, beyond Kwakeithel etc.
Source: The Sangai Express