Vijayawada: As rumours were rife over the closure of Kesineni Travels offices, the businessman turned MP Kesineni Srinivas decided to dispel them days after his decision. One of the biggest private travel agencies in South India Kesineni Travels shut down its operations recently.
As the opposition parties like YSRCP alleged that he had closed down the travels due to the huge losses he was incurring and also was running the bus service illegally, Kesineni decided to clear the air.
Addressing the media, he clarified that he decided to stop the operations due to personal reasons and did it. Claiming that he didn’t do anything wrong, he vowed not to operate his buses in two Telugu States (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) again. He also asserted that he provides the safest bus travel in the country and not just in the two States. “ If you compare my travel’s accident rate to the entire country, it’s almost negligible,” he added.
Saying that he worked with conviction and is only answerable to his own conscience, he maintained that he never made any mistakes in business. He also hit out at some media houses for spreading rumours. “If they were true, I would have been the richest man,” he said.
The entire episode began in the last week of March when Kesineni had heated arguments with Transport commissioner over illegal operations of travel operators that registered in other States. He was accompanied by Vijayawada Central MLA, Bonda Umamaheswara Rao. He criticised transport officials for their corrupt practices and alleged that around 400 private buses were operating across the State without valid permits. He demanded immediate seizure of such buses.
Alleging that the owner of Orange Travels, Sunil Reddy was a proxy of Opposition Leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, he claimed that 150 buses belonging to Orange Travels are operating in the State without permits. He also maintained that Sunil Reddy by offering bribes is influencing transport officials to run the buses.
However, Transport Commissioner Subramanyam rejected the allegations and asserted that every bus was paying taxes to the Transport Department and operating with a permit.
In this context, a video surfaced showing TDP MLA Umamaheshwara Rao manhandling one of the security personnel fo the Commissioner.
Following the incident, a major controversy erupted. The transport employees threatened to go on strike if the MP and MLA did not apologise.
Protesting against this, the MP has shut down his company. Though the MP wanted to announce this at a press meet on March 31, the TDP chief did not allow him to do so and called him for talks.
As he was made to apologise to Transport Commissioner, Kesineni felt humiliated. A leading English daily reported that he refused to hand over his fleet of buses to the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) as demanded by the opposition and RTC employees union.