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Gadkari: Public transport may start soon, will help boost trust

Gadkari: Public transport may start soon, will help boost trust

New Delhi:

Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday indicated that government may be considering soon starting public transport after formulating guidelines to maintain social distancing, though he did not spell out any timelines.

“We have started highway construction, industries, import and export have also started. Now to deal with the present trend of migrants heading home — if we can start industries, business, public transport — then they will have more trust and will stay back and there will be no new problem,” he told representatives of Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) and some think tanks on public transport. The discussion was also attended by a World Bank representative.

 

‘Running buses will be economic challenge’

Gadkari said while resuming public transport is a way out, there is a challenge of how to regularise it by taking necessary safety measures. “Economic viability will be a big challenge as buses will have to be run with less number of passengers. It’s a tough task to balance earning, providing service and also ensuring safety,” the minister said.

The minister made these remarks after a presentation by a think-tank showed how cities across the globe are running public transport even as they fight against the Covid pandemic. Highlighting how the bus and car operators are staring at huge financial problem, Gerald Ollivier, a transport specialist of World Bank, said they may face loss of about Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next nine months.

He suggested government could set up a Covid Stabilisation Fund for the sector by leveraging the sharp price drop in crude oil prices. He also suggested a rejuvenation programme to meet the shortage of buses in urban areas.

Responding to the suggestion of rolling out “One Nation One Permit” by BOCI president, Prasanna Patwardhan, Gadkari said, “I will take it up on priority with the states.”