By: Shubham Ghosh
Laxman Shankar Kevate, the conductor of the inaugural state transport (ST) bus on Pune-Ahmednagar route in the modern-day western Indian state of Maharashtra which commenced operations on June 1, 1948, has died, officials said on Thursday (18).
He was 99.
Kevate passed away on Wednesday (17) night at his residence in Maliwada area of Ahmednagar, located 275 kilometres from state capital Mumbai, officials of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation’s (MSRTC) said.
Condoling his death, Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde said in a tweet in Marathi, “Although the life journey of Kevate, who started the journey of ST, has stopped, his work will be remembered forever in the history of ST.”
Lauding Kevate’s work, Shinde also wrote, “Kevate did valuable work in the service of the ST Corporation. His extraordinary service is certainly an inspiration to all state transport employees.”
महाराष्ट्र राज्य परिवहन महामंडळाचे पहिले एसटी वाहक श्री.लक्ष्मण शंकर केवटे यांच्या निधनाची बातमी अत्यंत दुःख देणारी आहे. १९४८ साली महाराष्ट्रात सुरु झालेल्या एसटीचे पहिले वाहक म्हणून सेवा बजावणारे श्री.केवटे यांनी एसटी महामंडळाच्या सेवेत मोलाचे कार्य केले आहे. त्यांची अलौकिक सेवा… pic.twitter.com/UztSNmqS91
— Eknath Shinde – एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) May 17, 2023
Born on August 17, 1924, Kevate joined the ST service as a conductor on the historic day of June 1, 1948, when the ST launched its first bus service in Maharashtra after independence, they said.
He worked with the state-run corporation for 36 years until his retirement on April 30, 1984, an official of the MSRTC said.
Even after his retirement, Kevate actively participated in the state transport corporation’s activities until recently, he said. On the 75th anniversary of the corporation in 2022, Kevate showed a green flag to its first e-Shivaee bus which ran from Ahmednagar to Pune.
Despite old age, he had given an interview for a documentary about 75 years of the state transport’s services, the official said.
MSRTC’s vice chairman and managing director Shekhar Channe also expressed grief over Kevate’s demise and said, “The voice that narrated the birth of ST has now merged with eternity. His benevolent wishes and blessings continue to inspire us.”
(With PTI inputs)