February 6, 2014
WB Govt to introduce a fleet of 200 new buses, launch 15 new routes to decongest Kolkata roads
After inaction during the Left Front government rule for almost two decades, the transport department has taken cognizance of a passenger-demand survey and charted out 15 new bus routes in the city. The government will introduce 200 buses for these routes and will issue permits to them. Besides, 100 more buses will be introduced to 10 existing routes for better connectivity.
While announcing the `open road policy` for road, water and air transport on Wednesday, Principal Secretary (transport) Alapan Bandyopadhyay said permits will be issued within seven days to prospective operators.
Rejuvenating transport system
New Barrackpore to Alipore, Park Circus to Furfura Sharif, Boral Natun Haat to Rajabazar, Thakurpukur to Santragachhi and Shalimar station to Ruby Park are some of the 15 routes that have been earmarked for the new buses. These routes were chosen for witnessing maximum passenger footfall, the survey says.
The state transport undertakings are expected to run better services with prime operator zoning system. For instance, Howrah district will be primarily catered by Calcutta Tram Company buses, Kolkata and North 24-Parganas will be under the Calcutta State Transport Corporation and South 24-Parganas by the West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation.
Open road policy
Bandyopadhyay also announced the open road policy for river and air transport. “We are seeking investors both from the state and outside. Vessels will be allowed both on intra and inter-state routes. Similarly, to take forward the emerging aviation culture of Bengal, we are inviting private operators to fly choppers and aircraft from our facilities,” he said.
In the open road policy, the state will be offering new buses for the city`s fringes. The government has also initiated smoother inter-state road transit system by simplifying the permit system. “We have started holding meetings with our counterparts in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Assam and Sikkim. With a better road network, one can experience natural extension of the system”, Bandyopadhyay said.
Pawan Hans is all set to press its second chopper into service. Recently, the state got approval for flying amphibious aircraft both for passenger service and tourism.