Haryana residents stranded in Ludhiana return disappointed as inter-state bus service remains suspended
At least 12 people, belonging to Ambala, who turned up early to the bus stand to board buses back home, were turned back by the staff saying that the interstate bus service has still not resumed in Punjab.Updated: May 22, 2020 01:30 IST
As the inter-state bus service remains suspended even during lockdown 4.0, many people of different districts of Haryana, stranded in Ludhiana for almost two months, had to return disappointed from the Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) here on Thursday.
At least 12 people, belonging to Ambala, who turned up early to the bus stand to board buses back home, were turned back by the staff saying that the interstate bus service has still not resumed in Punjab.
Rajeev Jhangra, 32, from Ambala, who had come here to attend his friend’s wedding, was among several others, who reached the bus stand in the hope of going back home.
“I had read in the news that the Haryana government is working on resuming inter-state bus service, but the reality was otherwise. I request the state governments to start inter-state bus service too. People, stranded in different locations, have already exhausted their money and don’t have enough to hire private taxis,” said Rajeev.
Nirmal Devi, 20, of Shekhampura village in Karnal district, who had gone to Delhi to find some work in February, and got stranded there, came here by a train. She was dropped by a police vehicle at the bus stand from the railway station around 7:30am. She said in the absence of inter-state bus service, she is left with no option but to hire a taxi.
“After the lockdown was declared in March, I was stuck at my friend’s place for two months. I was eager to go back home, so I asked my friend’s brother to book any train available to Ludhiana from where I will take a bus to Ambala and further to my village,” said Nirmal Devi.
Nirmal, who reached Ludhiana via Jammu Tawi Express at 1:30am on Thursday, was made to stay back at the railway station premises by police officials.
“After reaching here, I came to know that there are no buses to Ambala at this time. I’m only left with Rs 750 while a private cab is costing between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500. I have asked my elder brother to send me some money so that I can afford a drive to home,” she said.
As many as 53 buses ferried around 850 passengers on Thursday.
Kuljit Singh Sodhi, station superviser, said 53 buses, both of PRTC and Punjab Roadways, ferried 850 passengers to different destinations including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Moga, Ferozepur, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Chandigarh, Barnala, Bathinda, Muktsar and Mohali on Thursday.
While buses for Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Patiala were able to manage 15 to 20 passengers for one trip, the buses plying to Hoshiarpur had no option, but to depart with only four passengers each.
The first bus to Hoshiarpur left the ISBT around 12:45pm with only four passengers.
To ensure social distancing in buses, the sitting limit on a bus has been reduced from 30 to 25 passengers on the instructions of deputy commissioner Pardeep Kumar Agrawal, who inspected the bus stand in the morning. He also directed officials to increase the number of buses to accommodate all the passengers.
On Wednesday, 35 buses plied from the bus stand.