Mumbai, July 13 (IANS) Private bus and truck operators in Maharashtra have adopted a wait and watch policy before deciding whether to continue plying in the Maharashtra-Karnataka sectors after four buses were attacked in Pune, Thane and Satara districts Tuesday.
The buses, pelted with stones and burnt in the Maharashtra districts, were owned by the Karnataka government. Three Maharashtra vehicles were also attacked in Karnataka Monday evening.
The Maharashtra government late Monday suspended public bus services to Karnataka for two days in view of the attacks. The Karnataka government retaliated by suspending all services to Maharashtra for the next three days.
The buses were attacked after the Maharashtra government stated in the Supreme Court that its claim on 865 villages in Karnataka was untenable.
‘The safety of passengers and our staffers as well as the vehicles is of prime importance. We are monitoring the situation closely. We will take an appropriate decision depending on the further developments,’ Maharashtra Rajya Truck, Tempo, Tanker, Bus Transporters Confederation secretary Irfan Bhiwandiwala told IANS.
Confederation vice president Mahendra Luley, who is based in Nagpur, said private bus and truck operators had exercised precaution to ensure safe passage for the passengers, goods and vehicles during the Telangana agitation earlier this year.
‘Unlike the government vehicles’ drivers, we authorise our drivers to take a spot decision based on the ground realities, keeping safety of passengers in mind. This time too on the Maharashtra-Karnataka sectors we shall exercise similar precautions,’ Luley said.
The confederation has over 265 associations of private bus owners across the state.
Besides school buses and private services within the state, the confederation members also ply services to all neighbouring states like Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and to destinations beyond.
Thousands of passengers bound for various destinations in both states have been badly hit and contemplating alternate means to travel.
Private tour operators in Mumbai said the seat bookings on the Karnataka sector have been reduced by nearly 50 percent over the past few days.
‘Even regular passengers are now preferring to go by Konkan Railway trains as they feel the situation is not safe to travel by roads, especially at night,’ said Rajubhai Shah, a booking agent from Borivli.