: Ever since the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) and Bathinda municipal corporation (MC) have broken ties to run local buses across the state, the future of much-hyped city bus project in the city looks uncertain.
Both of them had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to run buses under the project kicked off in 2012. The civic body had started 10 buses, and the PRTC looked after their maintenance.
However, the project soon turned into botheration for the PRTC, as it was facing losses worth Rs 1.50-2 lakh a month due to poor revenue generation.
Moreover, these ties have broken at a time when deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has already directed the MC to add 20 mini-buses into its fleet 15 days ago on April 2.
Indeed, after the PRTC breaking ties midway, the MC members, in a finance and contract committee meeting on Thursday, proposed to allocate the project to a private transporter, though the committee members decided to present the agenda in general House meeting before taking a final call on its future.
In a communiqué, the PRTC management had showed their reluctance to run the project and asked the MC to take over it.
In a meeting between the PRTC and MC officials last week, it was decided to nullify the MoU. PRTC general manager Jaswinder Chahal said it was a mutual decision, as they were facing losses between Rs 1.5-2 lakh a month.
“Moreover, the corporation, which is planning to purchase 20 new buses, is contemplating on hiring a private transporter for their operation. We asked them to either give the same project to us, or the PRTC is backing out,” Chahal said.
Meanwhile, MC commissioner Anil Garg said the corporation will run these buses by hiring a private transporter at the earliest.
“We have asked the PRTC to return Rs 35 lakh given to it to construct sheds to park these buses, besides handing over 10 buses after proper repair and paint to the MC,” Garg said.
FAULTY DESIGNS, POOR PLANNING
One of the PRTC’s senior officials told Hindustan Times the buses purchased by corporation had faulty design, due to which it had become difficult to run them in interiors of the city.
The buses often cause jams in the market arena near railway station.
Even, the route prepared by the corporation failed to cover the entire population of the city, as the buses added no reach to those living in trans-railway line areas.