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Will auction amphibious bus launched by Sukhbir: Sidhu

Sidhu says, the project which cost Rs 8.62 crore was ill-conceived and was a wastage of public exchequer.

punjab Updated: Jul 05, 2018 13:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Navjot Singh Sidhu,amphibious bus,Harike wetland
The SAD-BJP government had launched the bus in the Harike wetland to promote water tourism in Punjab but it failed to take off due to inadequate depth of the water body. (HT Photo)

Local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also holds the tourism and cultural affairs portfolio, on Wednesday announced to auction the amphibious bus launched by former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal during the previous government’s tenure.

The SAD-BJP government had launched the bus in the Harike wetland to promote water tourism in Punjab but it failed to take off due to inadequate depth in the water body.

“I have decided to start pedal boats in the wetland, which is practical and cheap,” said Sidhu.

“Sukhbir’s dream project of amphibious bus has turned out to be the worst nightmare for Punjab. He made it his prestige issue, causing a loss of Rs 8.62 crore to the state. The bus operated only for 10 days earning a meagre Rs 70,600,” Sidhu said. “A total of Rs 8.62 crore was spent on the project, of which bus’ cost was Rs 4.52 crore. The project was ill-conceived and was a wastage of public exchequer,” said Sidhu.

The bus was purchased from a Goa-based firm. There is a possibility of some company from Goa may show interest to purchase it in the auction, Sidhu said.

Referring to the report by the Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) that no feasibility report of the project conducted, Sidhu said the previous government’s decision lacked practicality, leading to losses.

As per the CAG report, the project was funded by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and executed by the state tourism department.

The report said the former deputy CM approved the project in principle in August 2016 and the bus was delivered in February 2017 and it could operate only for 10 days after which it developed snag.

First Published: Jul 05, 2018 13:11 IST