The lead picture is a mini-bus, part of the fleet of the public transport running in Kolkata. But is it fit to run on busy roads chock-a-block with vehicles of all kinds and pedestrians? How did it pass the yearly fitness test for commercial vehicles at the Regional Transport Office? If we assume that it was done several months ago and the condition has deteriorated now, how is it escaping scrutiny by the traffic police daily? Why is no one concerned?
Although the picture was taken from the front, the story is the same all around the body. The fabricated body parts are falling off and have been tied up with strings. Some portions have bent and are jutting out dangerously. They pose a serious hazard and can cut through a motorbike rider, for instance, if he or she comes too close. Or if the string breaks and the tied-up part flies off, it can lead to a major accident.
This condition of public buses plying on roads is neither limited to those owned by private operators nor to Kolkata. Across India, one finds buses in dilapidated conditions being used without fear by transport operators. The public pays to travel and expects a minimum standard. Further, these buses are a menace and should be seized unless the owners repair them within a given time.