People’s Party of Punjab president Manpreet Singh Badal on Tuesday lashed out at the Punjab government, accusing it of sacrificing the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) to promote transport companies owned by the ruling Badals, particularly deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Manpreet was reacting to the transfer of PRTC’s managing director Manjit Singh Narang. Calling the transfer “shameful, disgusting and sickening”, the People’s Party chief said Narang’s efforts had, of late, started to bear fruit as the PRTC was coming “out of the red” and people travelling by super luxury buses were getting a much cheaper alternative. He said Narang had also strengthened the fleet of PRTC’s ordinary buses.
Manpreet said Narang’s transfer was an example that “any officer managing the state transport efficiently to elbow out private players would not suit the ruling dispensation”. “It’s shocking,” he said, “that this official (Narang) has been shunted out within 10 months (of appointment) instead of allowing him to further improve the service and replicate the model all over the state.”
Manpreet particularly targeted Sukhbir Singh Badal for Narang’s transfer, saying the latter’s initiatives had started to affect Sukhbir’s business. “The problem is that PRTC’s super luxury buses had started to charge only `650 for a trip to Delhi airport, even as the buses owned by Sukhbir Singh Badal charge anything between `1,800 to `2,400,” Manpreet said.
Manpreet also said Sukhbir owned the biggest fleet of super luxury buses and had earlier been instrumental in “tweaking” the state transport policy. He said the PRTC would earlier cover the entire Malwa belt, but that the transport giant was turned into a sick unit as part of the ruling Badal family’s direct interest in the sector.
“Earlier, the only luxury bus service from Jalandhar to Delhi airport was withdrawn to make it monopoly route for Suhbir’s luxury fleet,” he added.