Review meet: Panel set up to revive city bus service
The failure of Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC) to run the city bus service to its full capacity took centrestage at a meeting of district committee held at Bachat Bhawan in Mini Secretariat here on Tuesday.
Member of Parliament (MP) Ravneet Singh Bittu, who chaired the meeting held to review the Smart City Mission project and other projects funded by the Union government, directed the district administration and MC officials to find a concrete solution. It was decided that a committee will be formed wherein the officials of transport department will also be included to revive the project and the bring the city buses to use.
The meeting was attended by Congress MLAs Sanjay Talwar and Surinder Dawar, deputy commissioner Pradeep Agrawal, MC commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar, Ludhiana Smart City Limited chief executive officer (CEO) Sanyam Aggarwal and others. Officer on special duty (OSD) to the chief minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh, Capt Sandeep Sandhu, was also present in the meeting.
As per the information, the MC had purchased 120 buses, of which 83 were transferred to the company running the
project, while the remaining 37 are gathering dust at a depot situated on Tajpur Road. Further, the service is only being provided on four routes in the city.
Bittu and DC Agrawal directed the MC officials to start the service on more routes including those connecting nearby villages and sub-divisions.
MC additional commissioner Sanyam Aggarwal said a termination notice was also served on the company running the city bus service as it was not able to pay the dues and run the facility efficiently, but the firm got a stay from court.
The issue of buses not being put to use has also remained a bone of contention between SAD and Congress. While Congress had staged a protest against SAD over the same in 2014, SAD had staged a protest year after Congress came into power in the state.
Even after chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh approved a ₹650-crore project for rejuvenating the Buddha Nullah earlier this month and the Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) has floated tenders for the same, the councillors and MLAs raised objections to the project stating that the proposal was never put in front of the general House of MC.
During the meeting, it was decided that the detailed project report will now be tabled before the House before taking up the project at the ground level. The project will put an extra annual financial burden of ₹110 crore on the civic body.
However, mayor Balkar Sandhu and councillor Mamta Ashu said they were not against the project but at least the House should be apprised of it. The mayor said the councillors might also give some suggestions for the project.
While MC officials decried staff shortage, the MP and the mayor directed the officials to expedite recovery of dues to speed up development projects in the city and for timely payment of salaries.
The mayor even announced a foreign trip for the employee who will achieve higher recovery targets.