In view of the upcoming Sankranti festival, the Andhra Pradesh transport department has been conducting special drives to check contract carriage buses. With hundreds of buses running from Andhra Pradesh to other states and vice versa during this week, all district transport commissioners (DTCs) and regional transport officers (RTOs) have been given instructions to check violations, including collecting excess fares and plying without tax and permit.

Instructions have been issued to pay special attention to all border check-posts like Garikapadu, Panchalingala across the state. According to the state joint transport commissioner, S. Venkateswara Rao, "Severe action will be taken for violations. The bus owners have been directed to observe COVID-19 protocol for the safety of passengers. On Thursday, a total of 89 cases were booked. In the last three days, a total of 223 cases were booked with expected revenue of Rs. 16.75 lakh."

According to the data available, there are around 700 private buses registered in Andhra Pradesh and 600 buses registered in Telangana state which ply between AP and TS and also to Bangalore and Chennai. During this festival season, another 300-500 buses run especially booked for marriages and tours.

Just a few days before the vacation begins, transport officials have started conducting checks at various checkpoints in the state. These special drives will be conducted till 18 January. During the checks, those buses which are found charging high ticket prices will be immediately seized. "Our prime motto is to book cases for collection of excess fares and other offenses, including carrying mercantile goods in buses and not maintaining passenger list or having only one driver for long-distance rides. On Thursday morning, we checked 30 buses and imposed fines against 13 buses for running with a single driver and for taking passengers beyond the limit," said DTC (Visakhapatnam) Raja Ratnam.

Any complaint can be reported through Whatsapp at 9154294722.

Sri Lakshmi Muttevi

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