Kerala private buses to jam services over speed governors

Kochi, Sep 8 (IANS) Private bus operators in Kerala Sunday announced an indefinite strike to protest the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) directive for installing speed governors on all heavy vehicles.

The strike will begin from Sunday midnight.

Commuters across the state are heavily dependant on private bus services as the state-owned transport corporation has just 5,803 buses while the non-government sector operates 46,620 vehicles.

Since a bus accident in Malappuram district claimed 13 lives Friday afternoon, law-enforcing authorities have launched extensive checking of buses and have cancelled the certificates of more than 300 vehicles.

"We are not against implementation of the law ... If the government invites us for talks, we will certainly go for it," said the Private Bus Operators' Association which along with two other bodies of private bus owners is spear-heading the protest action.

The bus owners earlier met here Sunday to announce the indefinite strike.

Meanwhile, many private bus owners have already started installing the speed governors and a heavy rush was witnessed in Kannur where about a dozen private buses had come to a workshop for getting the device fitted.

Bus owners pointed out that there are about 15 certified company products but just four companies supplying it in the state and hence they require at least three months' time for installing speed governors in all the vehicles.

At Guruvayoor, angry private bus owners went on a flash strike as MVD officials were targeting their vehicles but not touching the state-owned buses.

With the Onam festival round the corner, sources in the government said adequate time would be given to the bus owners so that they can comply with the rule.

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