Overcrowded buses make travel a nightmare for girl students in Kullu district.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, girl students rue that though the state government has started free-of-cost travelling for students of government schools in the state, lack of buses on routes concerned according to the ratio of students has made commuting difficult for them.
Student of a senior secondary school of Kullu district - Shivani, Manisha and Sonu - most of the girls have no option but to travel in the overcrowded buses standing all their way - around 15 to 20 km daily - because seats were already occupied by other passengers.
They alleged harassment by males with 'malevolent thoughts' in overloaded buses. They alleged that males travelling in buses and conductors take undue advantages of overloading and start harassing females by touching them while sitting next to them.
The girl students demanded that the state government should increase the number of buses according to ratio of students in schools, which could reduce the possibility of harassment during travelling.
Many girls rued that there is not proper timing of buses for students, because of which they get late for schools.
The situation is same in the evening and most of their precious time is wasted waiting for the buses.
The students said the government should make a strategy to sort out all these problems of students, which would make their journey safe as well as comfortable.
The government's decision to allow students of government schools to commute free-of-cost in Himachal Road Transport Corporation buses from April 1 received accolades from the public, but it is endangering the life of passengers at large owing to consequent overcrowding of buses.
Drivers of these routes told HT that many a time there were nearly 100 passengers in a bus and some even sit on rooftops, which makes driving tough on narrow roads.
Regional manager of HRTC, Kullu, Pawan Kumar Sharma said the department had conducted a survey across the district, according to which the strength of students was high as compared to the number of buses. They had sent the report to the higher authorities to provide extra buses for the comfort and safe travelling of students in the district.
He said he was hopeful that buses would be provided for better services in the district.