The bus service was thrown out of gear on Monday as Vallabhipur Transport Services Cooperative Society Pvt Ltd (Vitcos),the private service provider,diverted 43 of the 60 operational buses to ferry beneficiaries of a Garib Kalyan Mela (GKM) organised by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC).
The services got disrupted after 8 am when buses were sent to various parts of the city to bring GKM beneficiaries to Navlakhi Ground,the venue of the function.
Vitcos officials confirmed they had allocated 43 buses for the mela.
Out of our total 86 buses,more than 20 were off the road for maintenance and repair. Of the operational 60 buses,we had to spare 43 for Garib Kalyan Mela. So the number of buses on busy routes was reduced to one each. The service started getting normal after 5 pm , Narendrasingh Rana,Vitcos manager,Vadodara,told The Indian Express.
He said 35,000 students and thousands of other persons who hold service passes had complained about delays in getting buses.
Sources said the VMC had agreed to bear fuel charges for the buses on mela duty.
The company operates 30 routes in the city and nearby areas,and three to four buses ply on each of them. However,the number of buses on routes like Sama,Chhani,Parivar and GIDC from the railway station had been reduced to one while a few were cancelled altogether.
Students and office-goers were the worst-affected as they were left stranded for hours at various bus stops. I have been waiting for bus to Susen (in Manjal area) for the last one hour. My exams are on and I am getting very late, Niraj Mayrya,a BSc student of M S University,said.
Garib Kalyan Mela
According to VMC,13,937 beneficiaries were given away assistance worth Rs166.15 crore at the function jointly organised by the civic body and the Vadodara district administration under the Vanthambhi Vikas Yatra of the state government.
Meanwhile,a number of people claimed they were forcefully taken to the venue by local BJP workers promising gifts.
Some workers asked me to board a bus at noon for the mela when I was preparing to leave to pick up my daughter from her school. They promised us some gift items that they said were to be distributed at the mela. But we received nothing. When we demanded gifts,they directed us to the district civil supplies department. There too,officials said they had no knowledge of distributing gifts, said Mahesh Rana,a resident of Fatehpur.