Patiala, November 13
This Diwali was not a very happy one for many businessmen and traders that operate near the old bus stand, which was recently shifted to the outskirts of the city. The losses have been mounting for some time now, along with the decreasing property rates of their spaces. Many businessmen there had to skip the celebrations for this festive season.
Local businessmen near the old bus stand have been protesting and have expressed displeasure over the losses due to the shifting of the city’s bus stand near Urban Estate. They demand the state government run the 60-kilometre buses from the old bus so that they can sustain their businesses. Representatives of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal have already talked to the state government over the matter. They are in favour of continuing to run the 60-kilometre scheme buses from the old bus stand.
A restaurant owner who operates at the old bus stand said, “All the operating buses have been shifted to the new bus stand; this leaves me with no other alternative but to cut my labour in half to save on extra expenses. We continue to incur losses, even during the festive season, when the business is normally at its peak.”
A lot of businessmen say that they have met the officials of the state government in this regard to request that they not shift all the buses to the new site, but to no avail.
Recently, Member of Parliament Preneet Kaur lashed out at the AAP government in this regard. She said, “The new bus stand was inaugurated in May, but the bus shuttle service from the old bus stand to the new bus stand has not been started yet, which irks the residents here. There is no relief for the shopkeepers at the old bus stand yet, as they continue to incur losses.”
She added, “The plan was laid out to keep the old bus stand in the city operational for buses travelling in a 60-km radius along with local shuttle buses. Shuttle service was to ferry passengers to the new bus stand, as the new bus stand is situated fairly outside the city. Owing to the lack of planning from the AAP government, both the shopkeepers of the old bus stand area as well as residents have faced problems.”
A shopkeeper at the Lahori Gate market said, “We have been receiving assurances from the minister as well as the MLAs here, but we have not been able to see any concrete results. We urge the state government to at least continue running the small-route buses from the old bus stand, which would help the businesses here as well as reduce the burden on the new bus stand.”
A senior government official said that a decision in this regard is set to be taken soon. “The file has been moved to the authorities concerned,” he said.
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