Tourist buses in Kerala to be white colour from today; Govt rejects request for more time

Thiruvananthapuram: Tourist bus owners requested for more time to adapt to the uniform colour code for all buses conducting services in Kerala. By dismissing the demands of the bus owner, Transport Minister Antony Raju stated that the government intended to move ahead with the new guidelines issued on Monday.

Earlier, the guidelines rolled out by the Transport Department mandated that tourist buses plying in Kerala should be white. However, the bus owners met Transport Minister and stated the difficulty in changing the colour to white overnight. Transport Department issued guidelines on Monday mentioning that tourist buses which are not colour-coded will not be allowed to ply on roads from Tuesday onwards.

Antony Raju said that guidelines issued by Transport Department and those demanded by the Kerala High Court would be implemented on time without fail. On Monday, Kerala High Court asked the government to suspend the fitness certificates of vehicles violating law, along with the licence of its drivers and demanded strict action against violators.

At the same time, the tourist bus owners expressed displeasure over the decision taken by the government by calling it "impractical" and requesting more time to adapt to the new colour.

Tourist Bus Association members said that it is not right to punish everyone for the mistakes of others. They also strongly opposed speed relaxation allowed for KSRTC buses.

Meanwhile, officials of the Tourist Bus Association have agreed to look into some suggestions and demands tabled in the meeting.

Minister Antony Raju held a high-level meeting on Monday morning to discuss measures to prevent such accidents.

Later in the day, at a press conference, he said that in the meeting it was decided to double the fine from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for making unauthorised modifications on buses and also cancel the certificate of fitness (CF) of such vehicles.

The fines would be levied for each of the modifications made on a vehicle he said and added that more the number of unauthorised or illegal changes, the higher would be the total fine.

Steps are also being taken to cancel CF of stage carriages without an onboard GPS, he added.

Besides that, stringent action, including initiation of criminal proceedings, would be taken against the owner of the errant vehicle, its dealer and also the workshop personnel who helped in making the modifications, the Minister said.

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