Bus passengers miffed by delays by ballot squads

HUBBALLI: Police and flying squads formed by district administration to ensure fair and free elections are keeping a strict vigil on vehicles arriving from Goa. The initiative is said to be started on April 8, when STOI threw light on transportation of cash by public transport.
The personnel deployed at a check post set up at Hubballi airport told TOI that they are checking all vehicles randomly but are conducting in-depth check on buses arriving from Goa. “We have been instructed that there is a possibility of people bringing liquor illegally from Goa for the sake of election,” they added.

It should be mentioned here that the price of liquor is three times cheaper in Goa than Karnataka. Political parties usually bring liquor from Goa and distribute it among voters on the eve of polling.

As personnel are halting and buses for about 15-30 minutes, passengers are suffering unnecessary delays. The passengers who arrive in a Vasco-Hubballi bus alleged that the checking squad usually directs the bus driver to stop on the road side. “They stop the bus but start checking it only after checking 3-4 private vehicles. They take a minimum of 10 minutes to give allow the bus to move. We are not against checking, but they should keep the bus moving while checking it. They can return to the check post by other buses if they are not provided with a vehicle,” suggested Ramesh Javur, one of the passengers.

Shivalingappa Alavandi, a passenger from Gangavathi, said that when he urged officials to check the bus while keeping it moving, they threatened him and told him to be quiet.

A conductor attached to Hubballi division of NWKRTC said that buses are being checked at Ramnagar, Haliyal and Hubballi airport check posts. “As they are conducting thorough checks on baggage of passengers, they are taking 15-30 minutes to do it. Due to this, we are taking one more hour to reach Hubballi,” he said.

Ashok Patil, divisional traffic officer, Hubballi division, NWKRTC, told that staff of buses have been instructed to cooperate with election officials. “Election work is important and one should abide by model code of conduct. As per our information, poll officials are hardly taking five minutes to check a bus,”he added.

Shashidhar Madyal, Assistant Returning Officer, , said that flying and vigilance squads will work according to the situation. “If they found any suspicious movement, they will conduct thorough checks,” he added.

Get latest news & live updates on the go on your pc with . Download The for your device. in English and other languages.