Unfazed by MVD crackdown, Robin bus to resume inter-state service

Baby Gireesh was forced to sell off five buses in 2014 when the government decided to take over long-haul services. Photo: Manorama

Karukachal: “Don’t cite rules to frame me. I follow the same rules while operating my bus,” said Baby Gireesh of Parayil in Idamaruk near Pala. His bus, named Robin, made headlines when Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) officials seized it while on service from Pathanamthitta to Coimbatore with an all-India permit.
After a hiatus, the bus is slated to resume the inter-state service to Coimbatore from Thursday.

'Legal entanglements’
Gireesh launched the service on August 30 and went on to operate it for two days. On September 1, MVD officials inspected the vehicle when it entered the Ranni bus stand in the morning and cancelled its fitness certificate.

Among the lapses that were cited include the use of a thinner viper blade, loose mud flap screw, releasing of air while applying breaks and wear and tear of rubber underneath footrest.
These lapses were fixed in 45 days and the bus once again successfully regained fitness certificate and the service resumed on October 16. But as it reached Ranni, the MVD intercepted yet again. The bus was seized citing a violation of the permit under ‘Section Rule 207’.

A video footage of the episode, live-streamed through the bus operators' official social media page soon went viral and triggered a torrent of reactions as service was interrupted twice in two months due to official action. The Ranni magistrate court, however, ordered the MVD to return of the bus to its owner. 

What Gireesh has to say
“I operate the service strictly in line with the existing rules and regulations. This is my profession and I have paid all the amount due to the state exchequer. Complaints have been lodged with the Advocate General and Chief Secretary against the officials who deliberately attempted to intercept the bus service. A decision on the future course of action will depend on their responses,” Gireesh said.

Gireesh said he became an entrepreneur by taking over the Erumely-Ernakulam Express bus service in 1999 and expanded to 11 bus services across Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts.

He was forced to sell off five buses in 2014 when the government decided to take over long-haul services. The Covid outbreak dealt yet another blow as Gireesh had no other option but to sell his remaining buses except the Erumely-Ernakulam flagship service. He has now launched the Pathanamthitta-Coimbatore service by purchasing a new bus.

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