The fateful bus -- PB 10 CP 1813, owned by Orbit Aviation - on which a teenage girl and her mother were allegedly thrown off by the employees of the company -- tells the tale as to how the company, operated in collaboration with Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, brazenly violates every rule in the book.
There is no CCTV camera and the windows are covered with curtains, which is a violation of the Supreme Court's directions.
It is learnt that the bus did not have the permit to ply on the route and the driver, one of the accused in Arshdeep's molestation and murder case, did not even have a licence. When asked about the details of the "permit" of the bus, SHO Avtar Singh Rajpal said it was yet to arrive from the office of the Moga DTO. But he failed to provide details.
On the other hand, Moga DTO Arvind Kumar said he did not have the details of the permit of the bus as the vehicle was registered in Faridkot.
In another violation of the rules, the bus has misleading boards on it. In the front it has a board mentioning Sri Ganganagar on it. The rear board mentions Bathinda-Kapurthala-Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Barnala. Interestingly, there are two different strips on the rear mentioning the timetable from Patiala and Ludhiana. Hence, there is no clarity over the route of the bus.
Karamjit Singh, a student leader, while registering a protest on behalf of the students travelling by these buses, said, "The drivers, conductors and helpers of Orbit and Jhujhar buses (Jhujhar transport and Jhujhar Travels are owned by a close associate of Punjab CM, Gurdeep Singh Jhujhar) intimidate passengers. They use abusive language for students who travel on pass and even manhandle them. The worst being the attitude of the cops who threaten the students to implicate them in false cases in case of a complaint against any of the employees of these companies," Karamjit said.
Officials at the Moga bus stand, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that they received the maximum number of complaints against these two companies. "Each bus is supposed to have only a driver and a conductor, who should be uniformed. But in the case of these companies, the staff is unruly, untrained and without a uniform. Other than the driver and the conductor there are helpers deployed unofficially to control passengers," they added.
"Due to curtains and black films, girl students do not feel safe while travelling in AC buses even on short distances and prefer to stay back after 5pm," said Simran, a student.
"The helpers and the conductor generally look for young girls from weaker sections or a woman travelling alone and come and sit next to her. It is harrowing because they keep staring and in many cases indulge in touching. I challenge Harsimrat Kaur to travel in her own bus in the evening with her daughter as commoners. Then she will know what it is like," said another woman student.