With BRTS a distant dream, locals forced to grin and bear it

  • Sukhpreet Singh, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Nov 18, 2014 16:05 IST

Strapped by the lack of efficient public transportation facilities, the city’s long suffering residents have been waiting for years for projects like the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) and the metro rail that were announced with great fanfare by the state government during the past few years.

While the much-hyped BRTS, aimed at easing the worsening traffic congestion in Punjab’s industrial and financial hub, was approved by the municipal corporation (MC) at its House meeting held in February, and is yet to take off, the ambitious metro rail project remains nothing but a pipedream.

Even the much-touted city bus service launched amid a lot of hoopla by the civic body in 2011 has sputtered to a halt.

The civic body’s excuse is that the BRTS project has been delayed because the expected funds haven’t come through after the government changed at the Centre. “The detailed project report has been drawn up but the change of guard in New Delhi is the primary reason for project funds to be held up,” said NPS Kalra, MC executive engineer (development).

Meanwhile, the traffic police have done little to address one of the biggest problems plaguing the city — that of unauthorised autorickshaws running amok on the gridlocked streets — which are not only spiking the air pollution levels that are already dangerously high, but also exacerbating the unmanageable traffic chaos with interminable snarls having become the order of the day.

With local buses few and far between, hapless residents appear to have almost given up and are left with no option but to use these rickety autos for getting around the city.

Ravjot Singh, a local, said, “Travelling in and around the city has now become a nightmare. The bus rapid transit system, which should have been operational by now, is yet to see the light of day. As a result, residents have no option but to continue to live with their seemingly never ending misery.”

Meanwhile, MC commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal said the MC had sent the BRTS detailed project report to the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board last July.

“PIDB is the nodal agency that has to forward the project proposal to the central government, which will release funding for the project if it is approved. However, we are awaiting a reply from the board on this matter,” he added.

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