Bus Rapid Transit System, inaugurated among many other incomplete projects by chief minister (CM) Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister (CM) Sukhbir Singh Badal as they were on an inauguration spree prior to assembly polls in state, still awaits its number of promised buses to ply on city roads.
During its inauguration with four buses on December 15, 2016, Sukhbir had announced that around 20-25 buses will ply on the roads till the end of the project’s first phase, which was January end. Yet, contrary to the deputy CM’s claims, only six buses are currently traversing from India Gate on the AmritsarAttari bypass road to the Amritsar Railway Station.
However, the BRTS project team claims that nothing has stopped and the project would pick up momentum with time. They added that before the second phase ends, which is till the end of February, around 60 buses will be introduced and the total number, 93, will be reached by March end.
PWD Xen JS Sodhi said the stretch from Mall Road till Batala Rad would be functional in a day or two. “Trials for the buses to run on the new corridor have been done. On this new corridor from Mall Road to Balata Road, we will come up with 12 buses and will increase according to the requirement.”
Earlier, deputy commissioner (DC) Basant Garg had said that all bus routes under the BRTS project would be functional till July 2017 as there are two critical bridges —Bhandari bridge and Verka Bridge — that are in making. “Till the time construction on the bridges is not completed, the entire 31-Km area to be covered under the BRTS cannot be completely functional,” he had said.
A source on the condition of anonymity also said that around 20 buses have already reached the city and are parked at various centres and depots but only a few out of them would be brought on the new corridor.
The BRTS project was inaugurated with an aim to provide easy travel solution to the people of holy city and ease traffic congestion, but has only left the people disappointed as for years, they suffered due to the construction of the bus corridors which led to traffic jams and minor accidents and now as the project is not delivering as per expectations.
BEGINNING AND COST
For the execution of the project, the state government had setup the Punjab Bus Metro Society (PBMS), which consisted of officials of the MCA (municipal corporation Amritsar) and other departments besides the DC.
The estimated cost of civil works and infrastructure is worth Rs 495 crore while around Rs 250 crore has been spent on purchasing these 93 low-floored, air conditioned buses.
The total length of the BRTS route is 31.7 km that will include dedicated corridors as well as mixed traffic zones like the 3-km elevated road that runs alongside the general bus terminus.