Peeved at the indifferent attitude of the State authorities over passengers risking their lives to board buses from the Zirakpur highway, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday came down heavily on the Zirakpur Municipal Corporation and Senior Superintendent of Police Mohali.
Justice Rajive Bhalla on Friday dictated an order in the open court that the Zirakpur MC and SSP Mohali will have to cough up Rs 50,000 each as fine from their pocket if they failed to come up with a concrete solution within four weeks. They were asked to deposit Rs 50,000 each with the Registrar of the high court. This amount , the court said, will be refunded if the authorities take action within four weeks as directed.
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However, after repeated requests from the State counsel, asking for one last opportunity, it was decided to keep the order in abeyance. The court, however, made it clear that if no action was taken the said order would come into effect on February 21, the next date of hearing.
At the previous hearing, the court had ordered that no bus would be allowed to park on the main carriageway of the highway. The Mohali SSP was directed to ensure that buses pick up passengers from the service lane. In a relief to passengers, counsel for Punjab submitted that a bus stop was being built few meters away from the Zirakpur flyover.
Meanwhile, the high court expressed strong disapproval over the ‘defective and faulty planning’ in the construction of the Zirakpur bus stand. The court remarked that traffic plan prepared for entry and exit to Zirakpur bus stand has been admittedly prepared without consultation with National Highway Authority of India.
The court expressed concern over the faulty planning in entry and exit to the bus stand. Assisting the court in the petition, one of the counsels submitted that no direct exit from the bus stand is only going to add to the existing traffic chaos.
To come up with a solution to the problem, the HC has directed secretary, Punjab State Infrastructure Management Board to assist the court in its next hearing. Executives of the Board have been directed to appear in person with a copy of the plan and suggestions for traffic without interfering with existing traffic outside the new Zirakpur bus stand. The court, in its last hearing, had questioned the rationale of constructing a bus stand in Zirakpur, without even the existence of a road. The HC had also directed the Zirakpur MC authorities to ensure that entry and exit of buses does not interfere with free flow of traffic.
The directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a contempt petition pertaining to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for non-implementation of traffic guidelines issued in 1998.
Observing that a similar problem, as in Zirakpur, exists in Derabassi, the high court directed SSP Mohali and executive MC Dera Bassi to not allow inter-state buses to stop at the light points affecting traffic on the national highway.