THE news that the traffic department of Dhaka Metropolitan Police is returning the previously seized unfit buses to their owners, because of lack of space in its dumping yard, is a bit disconcerting. The whole exercise was aimed at clearing the city roads of the old, faulty vehicles that cause both pollution and congestion. And now releasing them is certainly a self-defeating move.

At least 3,000 outmoded and unfit small buses ply in the capital disregarding a ban under the very nose of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
The communications ministry in collaboration with the traffic department of DMP in 2002 had imposed the ban on the plying of buses of more than 20 years of old in the capital to check environmental pollution, sources in BRTA said.
The authorities also conducted a drive against such buses after imposing the ban and seized a good number of outmoded vehicles.

Dhaka Metropolitan Transport Committee has stopped renewing route permits of buses and minibuses over 15 years old, as the communications ministry has decided to impose restrictions on such vehicles in the city.

According to the decision, the bus owners should withdraw such buses from Dhaka and can replace their old buses with CNG-run 52-seater buses, an official handout said yesterday.

The bus and minibus owners can also operate their old vehicles outside Dhaka and Chittagong cities, it added.

Ahmedabad: In the final run for winning the contract for the operations and maintenance of Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) services, EURO-3 diesel run buses have taken the lead. The bids quoted by the five main operators are in range of Rs 34-Rs 36 per kilometre for EURO-3 diesel bu s e s which is the most economical option available to the Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited(AJL).

By S Lalitha, DH News Service, Bangalore: To reduce pollution emissions, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plans to incorporate sophisticated filters and use diesel-ethanol in the 600 buses of the Mysore urban division under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project, an international initiative to preserve the environment. By early September World Bank will sanction Rs 14.3 crore for implementation of the project.

Despite objections by the Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation and roadways unions, the Punjab Government has approved a draft that will allow private buses to operate in Chandigarh. All the buses will be air-conditioned and will start from various cities in Punjab including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda.

Autorickshaws and private buses are responsible for the snarls on city roads, a Besu study has revealed. The study, commissioned by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), was conducted by the transportation engineering and planning wing of the civil engineering department under the leadership of Prof Sudip Roy. "There are over 100 auto routes in the city and the count is rising by the day,' said Roy. "Initially, an auto carried three passengers. Now, they ferry up to six in violation of traffic rules.'

The Central Railway (CR) on Thursday launched the 'GO Mumbai' smartcard, a first-of-its-kind travel card which works like a pre-paid telephone card, and can be used for travel on the main line of CR, its Harbour line and BEST buses. "This is a red-letter day. A journey begins with buying a ticket and serpentine queues can be extremely cumbersome for passengers. The 'GO Mumbai' smartcard is one of the steps we have taken to permanently terminate these long queues," said general manager of CR, Sowmya Raghavan, who unveiled the card.

With the de-nationalisation of remaining 171 roads in the State, entire bus transport facility of Madhya Pradesh will come into the hands of private undertakings by June 1. "In the State, out of the 681 nationalised routes, 510 routes were already deleted from the nationalised scheme after the state government in February 2005 decided in principle to close down the Madhya Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (MPRTC). Now the remaining 171 nationalised routes will be de-nationalised by May 30", said Himmat Kothari, Minister for State Transport.

A new public transport policy for the entire NCR region, including Delhi and UP, will soon come into operation.