The first 45 air-conditioned buses of the 400 low-floor buses procured by the State with financial assistance from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) have reached the capital city.
With this, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) formed under the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will be able to extend services to 12 more districts in the State.
Already 367 low-floor JNNURM buses are operational in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi since 2009. “The 45 buses are ready to be rolled out to the 12 districts, and we have approached the government seeking exemption for the alterations made in the fabrication of the body to register the buses in the capital itself,” official sources told The Hindu .
The government has to issue orders for each bus as the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) cannot grant exemption for the alterations made by the KURTC. The department will also levy a nominal amount for each alteration made, a senior MVD official said.
Of the 400 buses, 110 will be air-conditioned and the remaining non air-conditioned. Purchase orders have been placed with Volvo, Ashok Leyland, and Tata, the sources said. The cost is shared on 80:20 basis between the Union government and the State. The total project cost is Rs.213 crore — Rs.193 crore for buses and Rs.20 crore for ancillary facilities.
The 45 buses will be deployed for operations in the 12 districts once the registration formalities are over. The districts have been clubbed into five clusters based on homogeneity and demographic profile for operations.
Cluster I comprises Kozhikode, Kalpetta, and Malappuram; Cluster II Kottayam, Thodupuzha, and Pathanamthitta; Cluster III Kannur and Kasaragod; Cluster IV Thrissur and Palakkad; and Cluster V Kollam and Alappuzha.
The setting up of the SPV was the main condition put forward by the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee on Urban Infrastructure and Governance to release the first tranche of funds. Once the 400 low-floor buses join the KURTC, the fleet strength in the State will go up to 767. The headquarters of the KURTC is at the Thevara bus-station.
News: The Hindu