Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sacked bus driver and conductor sue newspaper

11 February,2009-Bhutan Observer (BO) has been sued for alleged false reporting and writing that resulted in the loss of jobs for a bus driver and his conductor.

The suit was filed in Thimphu district court by the now former bus driver, Dorji, and former conductor, Tenpa, Wangdi, of Meto transport on January 21. Both claimed they were fired from their jobs on January 17 following a BO story that said they carried extra passengers, overcharged and misbehaved with the passengers. The bus was on its way from Trashigang to Thimphu on January 6.

The story, headlined “Troubled Bus”, stated that the bus carried nine extra passengers without issuing tickets but charging the same fare. The bus had a capacity of 19 passengers only.

Driver Dorji, 42, told Kuensel that he rejected all charges made against him in BO. He said that carrying extra passengers was not possible because there were several checkposts along the way, where several RSTA officials and police inspected the public transport buses.

Dorji said that the BO reporter, who was also travelling on the same bus, was charged Nu 100 for a carton, excluding three bags, for which he had refused to pay. He said the story was personally motivated because he made the reporter pay for his extra luggage.

BO said that it stood by its story. The paper’s managing editor, Needrup Zangpo, said that the story was factual and the BO management strongly supported the reporter. He said that the reporter wrote on an important national issue and had no personal agenda against either driver or conductor.

The editor added that there was a huge network of people involved in such illegal activities. “The bus driver at some point had transported some passengers to a cab just to cross the checkpoint and we can prove it in court,” he said.

By Passang Norbu
Source: Kuensel

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