APPREHENDING LAW and order problems following Thursday’s ruling by the Supreme Court on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, the Haryana government on Friday suspended bus service on the long routes between Haryana and Punjab. It will review the situation on Saturday before restarting service.
Buses continued to ply over short distances and the districts bordering Haryana, including Patiala and Ludhiana. However, buses to Amritsar, Sangrur, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and those to Jammu that pass through Punjab did not ply. Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda has also threatened that if the Punjab government does not comply with the Supreme Court directive, then the people of Haryana would stop vehicles coming from Punjab.
Additional Chief Secretary, Haryana Transport Department, S S Dhillon, said, “As a precaution, we have given directions on stopping plying of buses on the long route. On account of this volatile situation due to the decision on the SYL issue, we have taken precautionary steps. We are, however, operating buses on shorter routes like Ambala to Patiala and Ludhiana. We have given instructions that buses can be plied up to 50-60 kilometres within Punjab. If the bus goes up to Pathankot, Amritsar or Gurdaspur which are core areas and our buses are targeted, then we do not want to get our buses damaged.”
From bus depots in some districts, no Haryana Roadways buses plied to Punjab, putting commuters in a spot. In Jind, short-distance buses plied up to areas bordering Punjab and Haryana only. The general manager at one of the bus depots said they have been receiving queries from people throughout the day. However, it is still not clear when the bus service to Punjab would be resumed on Saturday.
The khap panchayats in Haryana have also threatened to stall road and rail traffic between Punjab and Delhi in case the Punjab government does not agree to give Haryana its share of water.
Head of the Satrol Khap, Inder Singh Mor, said, “We have held a series of meetings. We will take a final decision on the action we will take on Saturday. If the Punjab government does not comply with the Supreme Court directive, then we will take a strong step. We have no regard for any person, who does not abide by the Constitution of India. It could be anyone, even the chief minister of a state. The SC has ruled in Haryana’s favour and the state should get its share of water.”