Despite several complaints in the past, the shopkeepers at the Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Inter-state Bus Terminal continue to fleece passengers.
According to the passengers, eatables, beverages and other articles are sold on rates 25 to 40% higher than the MRP (maximum retail price) of the product at almost all shops of the bus stand. The fact is that most of the eatables are stale and of substandard quality, which is a direct invitation to diseases in summer.
Vaibhav Sharma, one of the passengers, said, “Overcharging at city bus stand has become a common practice that no passenger questions the price charged by any of the 60 vend owners on the premises. Outsiders who try to negotiate the price often end up entering into verbal spats with these vend owners.”
There are snack kiosks, newspaper stalls, juice vends, fruit shops and dhabas among other vends on the bus stand premises, who pay a monthly rental varying from 7,000 to 35,000 (according to the shop location and space) to the private company that manages the maintenance and operations work at the bus stand.
The issue has been highlighted by the HT several times in the past, but the authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to the ill-practice. Besides, some of the kiosks even have encroached upon the walking aisle causing trouble for the passengers.
Surinder Singh Pannu, manager, operations and maintenance, Welspun Projects Limited, said, “We have displayed helpline numbers at different locations of the bus stand so that any passenger facing any inconvenience or harassment can register their complaints.”
We have taken strict action in the past against the shopkeepers who charge arbitrarily. Those who continued to overcharge despite warning, their contracts were cancelled. But as per the record, the number of overcharging complaints has reduced. If any specific case brought is to our notice, we will ensure strict action against the culprits.”