One hundred and fifty people of Tsirang have appealed to the local leaders to improve the bus services plying towards the gewogs.

The dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) chairman, who received the maximum requests from people, put it as one of the agendas at the 5th DT on March 20.

The chairman, Shivalal Kararia, said that the buses plying to Sergithang and Doonglagang gewogs are old and they break down frequently on the way.

“Many passengers were dropped off halfway several times and the gewog boleros had to ferry those stranded passengers,” he said.

Two buses serve as the main mode of transportation for four gewogs of Doonglagang, Sergithang, Kilkhorthang and Tsirangtoed. It also ferries passengers of Phuntenchhu, Gosarling and Semjong gewogs.

There is another bus plying to Barshong gewog. It also ferries passengers of Mendrelgang.

“The buses are in worst condition and it did not reach the stations on many occasions,” the DT chairperson said. “Because no one cared about it, people brought the issue to us.”

He added that with improved road condition in the gewogs, all GC roads blacktopped, there is a serious need to replace old buses.

After a brief discussion, the DT endorsed and urged the RSTA and owners of the service providers to change the buses. “It is for the safety of the rural people,” Shivalal Kararia said.

He added that the DT decision would soon be shared with Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) and concerned bus owners.

The DT members also questioned the RSTA officials in Tsirang.

RSTA’s base in-charge, Norbu Jamtsho, said there are only three busses plying towards the gewogs of Barshong, Doonglagang and Sergithang. All the three buses have their lifespan intact.

While the DCM truck converted as a bus of Doonglagang and the TATA Eicher bus of Sergithang still has over two years validity, the Eicher bus plying to Barshong will expire after three months.

“There is nothing we can do when the buses are within their validity period,” he said.

Indian made buses have nine years of roadworthiness validity, according to the RSTA rules.

Moreover, he said that the RSTA office has not received any form of complaints from the public.

The base in-charge, however, said even if the validity is not over but the bus breaks down frequently and people put up complaints to the authority, the RSTA would interfere. “If we receive complaints, it will provide an opportunity to other service providers to deploy additional bus service. But without complaints to us we can not terminate their service,” he said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang