More than 55 per cent of private buses in semi-urban and rural areas in Mandya and its surrounding five districts are reportedly unfit for travelling, reports The Hindu. Furthermore, nearly, 35 per cent of private buses running on prominent roads are also unsuitable for passengers to travel in.
According to police officials, who preferred to remain anonymous, these buses are found in massive numbers on roads in Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Ramanagaram and Tumkur districts.
The alleged failure of the transport department of the state to ensure proper transport facilities like mechanisms to check the condition and legal documents of vehicles and skills of drivers are the primary reasons for unfit buses.
According to RTO officials, until October 31, at least 6,000 private buses and 2,000 vans or minivans are registered in the mentioned districts. The buses transport passengers to various destinations of Malavalli, Nagamangala, KR Pet, Maddur, Pandavapura, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Kunigal, Tiptur, Kollegal, Yalanduru, Kanakapura and other places.
Senior police officials said the condition of most of the private buses were poor and unfit to carry passengers, while adding that most of the buses in operations in the districts were condemned or scrapped vehicles from districts in coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
A deputy superintendent of police from a neighbouring district, again on condition of anonymity, said the private buses in the areas emit excessive amounts of smoke. Further, the emergency exits aren't covered, and fire extinguishers or speed-governors are never to be found in them.
Another officer said their "hands are tied" since most operators are loyal to political parties and hence RTO officials avoid checking buses on regular routes. The officer adds the drivers' force officials to speak with owners or let the vehicle pass instead of producing documents when asked to do so.