Kolkata: In a major move, the state Transport department has directed the district administration to remove the permanent ladders from private buses as part of the Safe Drive Save Life programme.The District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police have been asked to conduct special drives to remove the ladders. Temporary wooden ladders will be used to keep luggage on the roofs.The step has been taken as many buses that ply in the districts carry passengers on the rooftops which are solely meant for luggage. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeFlouting the norms, many buses that ply in the districts install permanent iron ladders after the registration of the buses are done and allow passengers to travel on the rooftops.The passengers sit on the rooftops and this is a common practice in districts including East and West Midnapore, Bankura and Murshidabad. In Howrah and Hooghly districts, the jeeps that ferry passengers in the rural areas carry commuters on the rooftops.Senior Transport department officials said it is risky to carry passengers in that manner particularly during the monsoon season when the roads are slippery. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe Transport department has also instructed the district administration to check tyres of the buses to avoid accidents.The decision has created a mixed response in the districts.While the majority of the commuters have welcomed the move, they maintained that the number of buses connecting rural areas with the city should be increased.The bus owners said as there is practically no space inside the buses to keep luggage, permanent ladders had to be installed.They admitted that commuters travel on the rooftops as the number of buses is not enough in number.
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