Flagging off 11 new city buses by mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria, who belongs to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), has left the Congress fuming as they claim that the city bus service project has been “hijacked” by the SAD-BJP in Ludhiana.
The project of city buses was sanctioned in 2009 by the union ministry of urban development in which a total of 200 buses were to be acquired by the Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC). These 11 city buses have inflated the present bus fleet to a total of 31 buses with the MC.
Different routes have been formed for these buses that would help city residents to commute to different areas.
A fleet of 10 new buses has also reached the city for which the MC is getting required permissions and permits. These 10 buses would also hit the road next week.
There are three partners in the bus service - central government, Punjab government and the municipal corporation of Ludhiana. The central government was supposed to provide 50% of the total cost, whereas the state government and MC were supposed to provide 20% and 30%, respectively, of the total cost of the project.
However, the Congress claimed that the SAD-BJP was highlighting the project as if it was only their project. They are just impressing the residents most of whom are unaware that a major part of the payment for the project has been given by the Congress-led UPA government,” Pawan Dewan, district president of Congress (urban), said.
Dewan said he was not even invited at the launch of 11 new buses. “When the city bus service was launched in 2011, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal inaugurated the service as if he started the service without any help from the Centre,” he added.
The bus service is an initiative under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).
Service to be strengthened: mayor
During the inaugural function of the buses held at zone D of the MC, Gohalwaria said the residents would be provided with the rest of buses soon so that they could travel with ease across the city.
“The city bus service has proved to be useful for the local residents and will be strengthened with the passage of time,” he added.
Isha Kalia, who is the zonal commissioner of zone D and chief of city bus service, said the fleet of rest of the 160 buses which include AC low floor, non-AC semi-low floor and mini buses would also be procured soon. “Procurement of these buses is in the tender process and will be acquired after all formalities are completed,” Kalia said.
Baljit Singh, manager of city bus service, said the endeavour of the MC to extend the reach of the buses for each nook and corner of the city would be completed once all buses were procured.
Route No. 1 Dhandra Road Octroi to Ferozepur road: Manankwal Gate, Octroi, Urban Estate Phase 2, Phase 1, Nehar Pul, Aroma Market, Preet Palace, bus stand, Bharat Nagar Chowk, New Courts, Bhai Bala Chowk, Aarti Chowk, Circuit House, PAU Gate No. 2, PAU Gate No. 1, Milk Plant, Sunet, Aggar Nagar, I-Block cut, J-Block, Rajguru Nagar, MBD Mall, Ferozepur Road Octroi, Ayali Chowk.
Route No. 2 Sahnewal Road Octroi to Jalandhar Road Octroi: Phawa/ Khakat, Jugiana, Dhandri railway station, Dhandri Kalan, Giaspura, Sherpur, Chowk, Dholewal Chowk, Vishwakarma Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Railway Station, Clock Tower, Jalandhar Bypass.
Route No. 3 Gill Road Octroi to Jodhwal Basti: Gill village, GNE College, Nehar Pul, ITI College, ATI, Municipal Corporation Zone C, Gill Chowk, Cycle Market, Vishwakarma Chowk, Jagraon Bride, railway station, Clock Tower, Jalandhar Bye Pass Chowk, New Dana Mandi, Noorwala Road, Shivpuri Chowk, and Jodhwal Basti.