Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Transport sector makes big strides

Transport sector makes big strides
S Praveen Dhaneshkar, Bangalore, Dec 29, DHNS:

The year had a lot going for the transport sector, with several new buses launched, new train services flagged off and the Metro Rail work gathering pace. Here’s a comprehensive look at these developments.

As the year 2009 draws to a close, the Transport Department will be among the happiest of State government departments, having fulfilled various new initiatives/schemes, right from adopting a new logo for itself to the issue of ‘Smart Card’ based driving licences and vehicle registration certificates and total computerisation of all its 55 regional transport offices (RTO) across the state

Having embarked on a technologically savvy drive to bring about much needed reforms and transparency in its functioning, the department hopes to continue its reforms into 2010 as well. The department also initiated a massive infrastructure improvement plan to modernise its offices, construct own buildings, including much needed electronic driving tracks for the benefit of driving license applicants. Notable among them include construction of a vehicle fitness testing centre at Nelamangala. Construction for this is expected to begin in 2010.

The Transport Department was also in the news in 2009 for special drives like, initiating road safety programmes through lectures and conducting awareness programmes for teens in schools and colleges across the City and distribution of booklets containing road safety signs and guidelines to educational institutions.

A speed post service was also introduced for hassle free delivery of driving licences to the doorstep of the applicant as also a project of permit computerisation for goods transport and yellow board vehicles.

Eco awareness stressed
With a view to stress the ill-effects of vehicular pollution, the Transport Department organised various programmes to mark pollution awareness month in November. Street plays, bicycle rallies, cartoon and drawing competitions and an eco-walk formed part of these programmes.

However, on the flip side the department was in the news for dilly-dallying on the the issue of ‘Green Autorickshaws’ with four-stroke engines and digital meters. It was vociferously opposed by automen and unions, who saw it as an unnecessary expenditure for them.

Finally, the Transport Minister R Ashok relented and allowed its implementation for only new autos. Another thorn for the department in the year gone by was the frequent strikes called by truck operators led by the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents Association over the issue of sand mining permits.

To end the year on a positive note, the Commissioner for Transport and Road Safety Bhaskar Rao participated in a 900 km cycle rally from Bangalore to Nilgiris in December to spread the message for promoting the ubiquitous cycle as an alternate mode of transport.

Describing the year gone by as very eventful for the Transport Department, Bhaskar Rao said: “2009 was one, in which winds of change were visible as we recruited 104 motor vehicle (MV) inspectors, after a long gap of 19 years. This helped us conduct more enforcement drives and raked in additional revenue. In 2010, the public can expect better and more information transparency from the Department. We will also make driving tests more stringent.”

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