BURDWAN, July 13: Public transport being enlisted to ferry polling officials have left general commuters in Burdwan in the lurch from Saturday afternoon.
Burdwan has requisitioned 880 buses, 632 mini-buses, 489 trekkers to help transportation of 23970 polling personnel destined for 4781 Polling Stations across the district.
This has thrown regular passenger services awry. Only handful of buses were available for Asansol, Kalna, Katwa, Khandaghosh, Jamalpur after 3 pm today against nearly 10,000 passengers stranded in the terminus of the district town. As a result, the public carriers were seen packed to the rafters, with passengers perilously perched on rooftops flouting the Road Transport authority&’s strictures (see picture). The state owned South Bengal State Transport Corporation failed to come to the passengers rescue.
One passenger, Mr Munshi Hidayetullah heading to his native village in Khandaghosh complained: “ There is no way I can reach my village today and have to stay back in the railway platform for the night.” Similar was the predicament of Mr Ramgopal Dutta of Koichar near Katwa adding: “How can authorities so brazenly ignore the needs of common men.”
The district administration has booked country boats especially for the flood-prone blocks like Katwa – I & II, Khandaghosh, Ketugram – I & II, Raina – I, Jamalpur, Monteswar, Purbasthali – I & II, Kalna – I, Mongalkote. The DM, Mr Onkar S Meena said: “We have reserved 72 boats of which the maximum 11 boats were reserved for Ketugram – II as the area is highly flood prone.” Also, he said: “Speedboats have also been requisitioned to help any emergency rescue in Kalna, Katwa subdivision villages.”
Considering the buses going off the road amass, the secretary of Burdwan District Bus Association, Mr Tushar Ghosh expressed concern saying: “Nearly 80 percent of the passenger buses have been requisitioned. We can’t help. The state sponsored transport companies were expected to provide auxiliary services.” The sick SBSTC meanwhile pleaded paucity of infrastructure to handle the crisis.