You are here: Rediff Home » India » News » Report
Search: The Web
  Discuss this Article   |      Email this Article   |      Print this Article

J&K govt using Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus for tourist purposes
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Get news updates:What's this?
June 17, 2005 01:18 IST

The Jammu and Kashmir [Images] government has begun utilising the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad 'Karwane Aman' buses for sightseeing by tourists for 24 days of the month when they don't have to carry passengers to Kaman outpost on their journey to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

This is primarily being done to earn revenue for the State Road Transport Corporation.

"Two days ahead of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad journey, the buses are handed over to the security agencies for sanitisation and other security and mechanical checks to get them ready," said a senior SRTC officer.

The SRTC had purchased six Ashok Leyland [Get Quote] buses for the Muzaffarabad journey early in 2005 after India and Pakistan decided to allow travel across the Line of Control to enable divided families to meet.

The luxury buses are fitted with a music system, television and plush upholstery. Presently, the buses ply only once a fortnight on the Jhelum Valley road connecting the two Kashmirs.

For the rest of the time the buses lie idle, which is not a good business proposition for the SRTC.

"We are now fully utilising the buses for appropriate dividends. These buses are now used for sightseeing in renowned resorts in Pahalgam and Gulmarg. They buses are generating good revenue for the SRTC," said the SRTC officer.

It may be mentioned here that the number of passengers for the Srinagar [Images] to Muzaffarabad journey has been declining and senior leaders of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference had used personal vehicles recently for their journey up to the Kaman Bridge.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has promised to make the service a weekly one and subsequently, a daily feature.

However, the present status of the strength of passengers travelling to Muzaffarabad does not make this proposition seem viable. Only six new passengers boarded the fifth bus that started from Srinagar on June 2.

On its sixth run between Srinagar and the Kaman Bridge on Thursday, the bus carried just one local person who was travelling to meet his relatives in Muzaffarabad.

It remains to be seen as to whether the next run of the bus from Kaman Bridge to Srinagar will carry Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Abdul Rashid in it.

Sheikh has already applied for the permit to visit Srinagar so as to pay respects at the grave of his grandfather, which lies in the downtown locality of Srinagar city.

 Email this Article      Print this Article

© 2008 India Limited. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer | Feedback