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Special MSRTC cell mooted to pitch in during rail emergencies


Mumbai: Maharashtra government is mulling a proposal to constitute a special cell in the state road transport corporation to ply additional buses in case of emergencies like today’s disruption of suburban train services.

Transport Minister Diwakar Raote told that the special cell comprising depot managers in different parts of the state would be authorised to take a decision to ply additional bus services in case of emergencies.

“All powers to decide on bus services to help stranded passengers will be taken by the special cell,” Raote said.

Giving an example of today’s disruption of suburban train services on Central Railway, Raote said 60 to 70 buses belonging to Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) brought stranded passengers at Diva to Thane.

“MSTRC authorities in Thane visited the spot in Diva and took decisions on the number of buses and routes they will ply on to help the passengers,” he said.

At present, there are standing instructions for municipal corporations and state-owned transport corporation to ply bus services in their jurisdiction for helping passengers after request from authorities concerned.

The Minister also said the high-handedness of auto and taxi drivers in such emergency situations will not be tolerated.

“If complaints of auto and taxi drivers charging exorbitant rates is brought to our notice, steps would be taken to cancel the license of the drivers,” he added.

Raote said his department’s efforts would be to ensure reduction in number of accidents involving MSRTC buses.

“We may have expert and trained drivers but application of mind at the spur of the moment is required to avert accidents. We are planning computerised training for the drivers,” he added.

Among the other initiatives planned are pension fund for MSTRC employees and increasing the accident insurance from Rs three lakh to Rs five lakh.

Upset over disruption of suburban train services, irate commuters today went on a rampage setting afire vehicles, vandalising rail property and pelting stones leading to chaos for six hours and leaving thousands of people stranded before services resumed.

The trouble started at Diva station in Thane district after rail services were disrupted when pantograph of a local train broke between Thakurli and Dombivali stations.

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