60 AC buses gathering dust as Rs 600 crore BRTS project awaits completion in Amritsar

Amritsar, December 21: The first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) in Amritsar that was inaugurated last year by the then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal , is yet to start. The first of its kind project in the state was to become functional by July 2017.

Due to the delay, 60 new air-conditioned buses are gathering dust.

The ambitious Rs 600-crore project is aimed at decongesting traffic in the city, largely caused due to the heavy footfall of tourists. The project remained in controversies and drew flak from political parties, environmentalists and locals because many trees were axed to facilitate the corridor.

Under the project, 70 air-conditioned buses have been procured to ply on the 31-km corridor. The corridor is to be designed in a manner that facilitates fast movement by avoiding unnecessary halts caused due to traffic jams.

A BRTS official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Of the 70 buses, only 10 are plying on city roads at present. The rest are parked at a depot near Verka Chowk because the BRTS project is awaiting completion.”

The public works department has been entrusted with executing all civil works connected with the project.

In 2013, after much deliberations the state government decided to replicate Ahmedabad’s BRTS model in Amritsar. For this, the PWD constructed around 45 bus stops, in every 500 metres, on the 31-km stretch. The expansion of Bhandari Bridge is under process and once completed, it is likely provide relief to the commuters.

Speaking to HT, PWD executive engineer JS Sodhi, said, “Around 90% construction work has been completed. The remaining 10% will be completed soon. There is no paucity of funds.”

However, this is not the first time that the administration has come up with plans to decongest traffic in the city.

Projects such as the ‘City Bus Project’ and ‘Pods Project’ were also planned in the past but never executed.

Source Hindustan Times




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