The luxury buses of Punjab’s first family came back into business on the day the last prayers for the girl who died in the Moga horror were being said on her bhog.
Six days after deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal took his Orbit buses off the road for staff re-orientation after the girl and her mother were thrown off near Bhagapurana on April 29, the first Mercedes Benz bus started for Chandigarh around 9am from the mechanical workshop on the Bathinda-Badal road where the fleet was parked for almost a week.
Sukhbir’s entire fleet of 230 buses may hit the road again on Saturday. The service from Rama Mandi in Bathinda district to Chandigarh was also resumed, although it is for the HPCL-HMEL oil refinery staff mainly. Public outrage and Opposition pressure had forced Sukhbir to give his drivers and conductors a crash course in good behaviour.
State-owned Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) has made handsome money during the days the Badals’ buses have remained off road. The Opposition has asked the public to boycott the Badal fleet and, from now, travel only by state-owned buses.
On Thursday, the Youth Akali Dal had issued a press statement in Bathinda that its activists would protect the private buses from mobs en route. On Wednesday, a Deep Company bus of an Akali leader was attacked by the Punjab student Union activists in Faridkot.