Narrating his experience of reining in the ‘transport mafia’ in the first three weeks after assuming the charge of Transport Minister, two-time Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring speaks to Archit Watts of The Tribune.
The Transport Department is making big news these days. Any comments?
We have impounded more than 150 buses plying illegally or without paying the road tax. As many as 842 new government buses have been ordered. There is no protest by employees anywhere. We have also increased the salary of the contractual staff by 30 per cent and assured them of 5 per cent annual increment. Major defaulters, including Orbit Transport and Rajdhani Transport, which are owned by the ‘powerful’ Badals, are now paying their pending road tax. Earlier, most tourist buses entering the state did not pay the tax. I have brought in changes in the delivery of motor vehicle registration certificates and driving licences, etc. Now, the important documents will remain available in post offices for 15 days. The automated driving test tracks will remain open on Sundays too.
Are you hinting that your predecessor failed to live up to the expectations?
Neither am I saying this, nor I want to go into it. Everyone has their own style of working. She can list her achievements, I have to list mine.
What are your immediate plans?
I want to see all bus stands neat and clean. Now, I have started a regular cleanliness drive. After becoming the minister, when I first went to the Ludhiana bus stand, it was in a shambles. However, when I went there again, it was much better. Similarly, the Amritsar bus stand, which has a daily footfall of 65,000, was also not up to the mark.
Do you think there are some black sheep in the department?
Yes, there are many. I assure you that those found guilty of causing loss to the state exchequer will not be spared. Results of recent actions will soon be visible to everyone.
Your opponents call you more of a ‘stuntman’. What’s your reaction?
Only the public can give answer to them. If I have become able to increase the revenue of the PRTC and the Punjab Roadways in such a short time span, then I have no problem on being called a stuntman.
Tax evasion: 5 more buses impounded
Ferozepur: Continuing its offensive against erring private bus operators, the Transport Department on Monday impounded five more buses in this border district. A special team has been ascertaining the tax liabilities and scrutinising documents at various bus stands following Warring’s instructions.
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