Amritsar: After plying on the roads of the holy city for nearly two years, the maroon-shaded city buses of the state government have finally come to a halt. Though the much-hyped city bus project had been given a send-off with much fanfare nearly two years ago, however, owing to lack of proper attention of the concerned officials, the project could not survive and finally flat.
In 2014, on January 28, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had inaugurated the city bus service from Mall Mandi, falling upon Jalandhar road. The required funds for the project had been provided under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). At its inception, as many as 60 buses were pressed into service, which dotted the roads of holy city. However, owing to lack of proper maintenance of these buses, most of them were rendered defunct and consequently, went off the roads. Finally, the buses have not been parked in the Mall Mandi yard as they have reportedly been unable to carry passengers.
As per officials of the municipal corporation (MC) Amritsar, all that had happened owing to government’s apathy. “Since the arrangements for the required funds to run the bus service smoothly could not be done, therefore, the project was deemed not viable,” stated a senior officer of the MC pleading anonymity. He also admitted that similar bus services had been introduced in Jalandhar and Ludhiana cities too, however, they were also wound up.
Sources revealed that with a view to ensure smoothing running of the buses, a committee comprising Deputy Commissioner, MC Mayor and District Transport Officer (DTO) had been constituted, but not even a single meeting of the committee to monitor the functioning of the project did take place.
The halting of city buses in the holy city, indeed, has benefitted the three-wheeler operators and the mini bus operators as the commuters in thousands can be seen taking service of their vehicles.
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