Regional Transport Authority officials never had it so tough. While they have managed to stop all private and government vehicles from displaying advertisements, they've found the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) a tough nut to crack. They're armed with an Act of law, a high court ruling and a Road Safety Authority (RSA) decision which prohibits display of ads on vehicles as these could distract other drivers. However BMTC buses, especially the Volvos, continue to display huge ads. What's worse, government ads with large photographs of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and transport minister R Ashoka are on almost all buses plying towards IT corridor areas like Whitefield and Electronic City. Interestingly, BMTC managing director Syed Zameer Pasha says he's unaware of this blatant flouting of rules.
The RTOs decided not to give fitness certificates to Volvo buses with ads. That's when BMTC officials got creative. They used removable ad material without using glue. "Once they get the fitness certificate, they fix the ad back. What can we do about it?'' asked an RTO.
For the full report in the TOI, click here
The fact of the matter is that it was being carried out with the full knowledge of the top officials (except perhaps the MD, who unawareness is perhaps not confined to just this matter), who besides had come up with creative ways of flouting the law. They may have even bagged awards for such ingeneous ways of maximising revenue. And, now that the game stands exposed, will any action be taken against any of the officials involved? Will they even be pulled up? Absolutely no chance, if you ask me!
Well, here's clearly another good reason why the government agencies should be withdrawn from providing services, to the many other reasons that have already been discussed at length on PRAJA. Like I have repeatedly been saying, the government has the more important function of facilitation and regulation to perform, and when it becomes a player in addition, its functioning as the facilitator and regulator gets adversely affected.
Ideally, the government holding in BMTC and KSRTC should, in the matter of the next three years, be brought down to less than 25%. Of the balance, 10% may be issued on preference to employees, and the balance issued to public. Simultaneously, the sector should be opened out for competition from big ticket players. Bus services are too vital an infrastructure area not to have the benefit of the expertise and capacities of big players.