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Weeds at Harike Lake pose fresh trouble for amphibious bus project

Inordinate delay in making it operational has put a question mark on viability of Rs 10-crore project

punjab Updated: May 26, 2017 10:00 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Tarn Taran
Harike Lake,amphibious bus,weeds
The weed growth at Harike lake.(HT Photo)

The inordinate delay in making the amphibious bus project operational at Harike Lake in the district has put a question mark on the viability of the Rs 10-crore project.

Weeds in the lake, the confluence of Sutlej and Beas rivers, are posing a fresh trouble to the much-hyped project inaugurated by the then Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on December 10, 2016 amid much fanfare.

The project has often drawn flak, especially on social media. To begin with, its inauguration was postponed as the water level in lake was not sufficient. After Sukhbir’s short ride on the day of inauguration, the bus was locked away.

It was later sent back to Goa in February and replaced with a new “better-looking” bus as promised by former deputy chief minister.

A non-­operational amphibious bus in Tarn Taran district. ( HT Photo )

Opposition leaders had then alleged that the first bus was brought only to inaugurate the project before the state assembly elections.

Repair of gates of Harike head works posed another challenge as the water flow was obstructed.

Now, the project has to overcome the challenge of excessive weeds spread across the lake area, fixed as the route for the bus. The lake area from where the bus begins its journey is also blocked by weeds.

“A net wall is being installed to tackle the weed menace. The work will be finished within 2 to 3 days,” said Amarjit Singh, a staffer of Krishna Tour Company, which has bagged the contract for the project.

“After the installation of net, the officials concerned will examine the arrangements and the bus will be made operational after undergoing a couple of trials,” he added.

On Tuesday, Navjotpal Singh Randhawa, director, tourism, also visited the lake to examine the fresh challenge faced by the project.

However, keeping the lake clear of weeds is proving to be a tough task for the company employees as they are massive and widespread, sources said.

Notably, officials of the company as well as the tourism department have been making tall claims since the inauguration of the project but they have failed so far to run it smoothly.

Principal secretary (tourism) Jaspal Singh said, “Earlier, the irrigation department was repairing the gates of Harike head works due to which the flow of water in the lake reduced. It was the main hurdle. Now the weed menace has halted the project, but we are working on these problems.”

Sanjeev Aggarwal, managing director of the company, said, “We were facing a few problems which have been resolved and the bus will be operational within a couple of days.” 

First Published: May 26, 2017 09:57 IST