Sidhu orders grounding of Punjab’s amphibious bus service

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Chandigarh, June 17 (IANS) Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday ordered the immediate grounding of the amphibious bus service in Harike Patan water body in the state’s Tarn Taran district.

The bus service, a brainchild of former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, was launched by the previous Shiromani Akali Dal government with much fanfare last year.

“Operating of this bus service has proved disastrous for the farmers of the region for the releasing of water to operationalise the project has ruined the crops of 5,000 farmers, besides leading to drastic reduction in the number of migratory birds,” Sidhu told media in Tarn Taran district, around 275 km from here.

The minister said that a vigilance would probe the looting and plundering of the resources of Punjab under the garb of tourism by the previous government and those found guilty would be strictly proceeded against.

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Sidhu said that Harike Pattan would be transformed into a tourism hub.

Taking the previous government to task, he said that the state-run Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) is reeling under a loss of Rs 350 crore due to the inefficiency of the previous regime which was in power for 10 years (2007-2017), whereas the number of buses operated by the family of previous Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had rapidly increased.

He said that the illegally plying private buses in the state would be stopped soon which would result in the PRTC coming out of the red. Sidhu had earlier claimed that the Badal government had wasted Rs 10 crore in getting the amphibious bus service started at Harike Patan.

The original bus stopped plying immediately after its inaugural run. Later, another new bus was brought, replacing the earlier one.

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