HC puts UT on notice for insurance of CTU buses

Taking up a petition seeking the insurance of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday put the UT Administration on notice.

Devi Dayal Sharma had filed the petition that came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain. The bench has issued the notice for January 21.

The petitioner had sought directions to make the government either grant exemption to the CTU buses under Section 143 (6) of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, or get the buses insured, for want of which the state transport authority has not been allowing about 160 CTU buses to ply on the road, resulting in much inconvenience.

The court was informed that the number of such buses will increase to 210 by the end of January.

It was further submitted that according to a communication dated October 3, 2012, the Director, Transport was informed that for the year 2012-13, the CTU has established a fund of Rs 1.70 crore as required under Section 143(3) of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988.

The bench was apprised that no insurance company was coming forward for the insurance of CTU buses.

The CTU has a fleet of 517 buses out of which 125 are off the road on account of routine repairs or due to being condemned.

To insure buses, CTU must pay Rs 2.3 crore

The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking will be required to pay Rs 2.30 crore to the insurance company for insuring its buses. The proposal for the same is awaiting clearance from the UT Administration. Due to lack of insurance, around 160 CTU buses are off the roads, awaiting clearance from the State Transport Authority.

In the last financial year, CTU paid around Rs 1.5 crore as accidental claim in the financial year 2011-12. There were 16 major accidents, apart from a few minor ones, that took place within this period due to which the money had to be paid. Officials state that the claim amount gets higher after people approach the courts for the same. Since the buses are not insured, there is a separate fund for clearing the claims.

On an average there are 15 to 16 major accidents involving CTU buses every year. Some of these have proven fatal as well. Every year, crores of rupees are being paid as the claim amount.

It is after the buses came to a halt that a hunt was started for finding an insurer. The New India Insurance Company showed interest in insuring the buses. A proposal for the same was prepared and has been sent to the UT Administration for approval. Thereafter the buses will be insured.

At present, in order to tide over the shortage of buses on the local routes due to these being stalled, the buses from the long routes have also been diverted to the local routes. The plea taken was that while there are buses of other state transport authorities on the long route, only CTU can serve the local routes.

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