The local bus stand, one of the oldest in Punjab, is short of basic amenities.
Built on an acre on the GT Road, in the middle of the town, this sub-depot under Batala has 310 buses leaving in a day (between 4.10am and 7.30pm): 170 towards Amritsar and 140 towards Pathankot), of which only four belong to Punjab Roadways.
The staff of one of the four buses is absent perpetually. A bus each moves to Dera Baba Nanak and Mukerian, while the other two go to Sri Hargobindpur. The remaining buses are of private operators.
In 1986, the Gurdaspur sub-depot had 56 Punjab Roadways buses. In the past three decades, Punjab Roadways has hired no new staff for running these buses. The government operator continues to make loss, while private players are raking huge profit out of the place.
In this zila-parishad-maintained facility, water taps have gone dry and waiting passengers have no option but to buy costly mineral water from the spot. After using the unclean toilets, the impact of stink stays with them for several minutes. There's is no arrangement of water for either flushing or hand-wash. The urine remains there until it evaporates.
The toilets doors are either broken or missing. At the rear runs an open sewer. At night, 40 to 50 buses are parked at the place, and the maintenance contractor is authorised to collect a night-stay fee of `20 for each, but the drivers and conductors decline to pay it because they get no bathroom, toilet or drinking water facility.
The zila parishad (ZP) has given the annual maintenance contract of the place for `20.50 lakh to a private company, who collects this "adda fee". "Under the agreement, the contractor was responsible for the maintenance of the facilities for passengers, drivers and conductors," said ZP superintendent Chandan Kumar.
Contractor Amarjitpal said his duty was to maintain facilities but he had taken over a bus stand that had no facility created before to maintain.
The SAD-BJP alliance, which is in power, has failed to install requisite facilities at the Gurdaspur bus stand
Raman Bahl, former municipal council chief
The government makes huge tax revenue through transport. Where does the money go if there are no facilities?
Kanwal Bakshi, former member of Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board
The passengers have to bear all the hardship helplessly, as there is no one to listen to their complaints
Rashpal Sethi, photocopy shop owner
The Zila Parishad is responsible for the lack of facilities. Half the fans installed at the bus stand don't function
Krishan Kumar, in charge of Gurdaspur bus sub-depot
It is the contractor's duty to take care of the facilities at the bus stand. The zila parishad can't do anything
Chandan Kumar, Zila Parishad superintendent
My job was to maintain the facilities but I received a bus stand that had no facilities in the first place to maintain
Amarjitpal, bus stand contractor