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Archive for May, 2009

Public Transport Service to be Revived by Chandigarh May 30

To streamline the public transport service between Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, the Chandigarh administration has drafted a plan to run around 1,200 AC and non-AC radio taxis and 1,500 LPG autorickshaws soon.

It has been agreed upon with Haryana and Punjab transport departments to introduce 200 AC taxis and equal number of non-AC taxis. The taxis would be white with the insignia of the open hand. The AC cab service at Rs 15 per km is already on schedule, while the non-AC service at Rs 8 per km is going to start soon.

Secretary, State Transport Authority, Vandana Disodia, said everything had been finalised and the service would be started in a day or two. As soon as they got the draft policy, permission would be given to non-AC cabs.

A decision in this regard has also been taken at a meeting attended by the State Transport Commissioner, Haryana, the Director Transport, Chandigarh, and the GM of Haryana Roadways to countersign the permits of autorickshaws.

The number of autorickshaws to be countersigned by the respective states and the UT has been fixed at 500 each. The administration also plans to introduce radio autorickshaw service, wherein dialling a four-digit number would bring eco-friendly autorickshaws, fitted with the GPS system, on your doorstep for Rs 5 per km. The Centre has given its nod for 100 AC Volvo buses and 60 non-AC buses for Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Government Transport Workers Union yesterday protested against the administration’s move of entering into an agreement with neighbouring states. Raj Kumar, general secretary of the union, said the administration had shown discrepancies while signing the agreement with the Haryana government.

“As per the agreement with Punjab, no state-owned bus would ply on the Chandigarh route beyond the ISBT-17 or ISBT-43. But Haryana buses have been allowed to ply on city routes,” he said.

Chandigarhians Enjoy the Rain Showers after Absorbing Heat May 30

Residents got some relief from the heat today as thundershowers in the evening brought the temperature down. The met department has said the sudden change in the weather was due to a cyclonic storm and western disturbance in north Rajasthan.

The met department has forecast thundershowers in the coming days as monsoon is near. The city recorded a minimum temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 37 degrees Celsius today. Partly cloudy sky and thundershowers are expected.

According to Met Director Chattar Singh, this year in the pre-monsoon season, which is from March to May, the city has recorded rain below the average of 35.9 mm.

24×7 radio auto service in Chandigarh May 09

Finding autos will be just a call away. The Chandigarh administration has mooted a proposal to introduce 24×7 radio auto service in the city, the first in the country. What is more - the refurbished autos will be equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) connected with GSM/CDMA/landline network and other facilities for the comfort and safety of passengers.

The eco-friendly LPG/CNG-run green colour autos with yellow topping will have an electronic display unit showing “hired” or “vacant”.

Though the fare has not been fixed as yet, sources in the transport department said it would be somewhere near Rs 5 per km. This implies that it will be the cheapest public transport available in Chandigarh after the CTU buses.

Private firms having transport background will operate these autos. The officials said that expression of interest from interested parties would be invited after the Model Code of Conduct is over. The operators will have their own control rooms, which will be in constant touch with the auto drivers.

This service will be available in three convenient ways - on call by dialling the four-digit number, by hiring them from their designated locations or by stopping them on road.

Confirming this, Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Transport Ram Niwas said the proposal would be materialised soon after the elections are over in Chandigarh.

“It will be beneficial and safe for the general public, especially women and children, as the vehicle will be driven by the designated person only. Since plans are there to have a GPS system in the vehicle, this will enable us to know the location of the vehicle. Secondly, it will help in ending the monopoly of the existing auto drivers who ask for undue fares. Thirdly, these vehicles will be available all day and night. Besides, this scheme will help us generate employment and help us switching over to LPG autos soon,” he said.

Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said that under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, auto-rickshaws come under the category of contract carriage and their registration numbers could be reserved for these vehicles. “An operator interested to be a part of the scheme will have a minimum fleet of 10 brand new LPG/CNG auto-rickshaws. The registration will be done by the STA as per the Chandigarh motor vehicle norms,” she said.

The STA will monitor that the auto-rickshaw should comply with the stipulated conditions like the vehicle must have electronic fare meter on its front panel, besides the first-aid box and fire extinguishers. “It will be the liability of the operating firm to ensure that the drivers have valid driving licence, good behaviour and proper uniform,” she added.