Opposition Congress on Wednesday cornered Punjab Transport Minister Laljit Singh Bhullar on the issue of direct luxury buses to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi when it asked the minister to table the supporting documents of his claims in the House as commotion prevailed in the Assembly with both sides of benches shouting at each other and Speaker Kultar Singh Sandhwan warning of action against the legislators.
Bhullar was responding to a supplementary question by Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa during the question hour. Bajwa questioned why the buses were stopped by the Delhi government in 2018 when they were already plying straight to the airport.
Notably, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann on June 15 had launched the luxury bus service from Jalandhar to the Delhi airport. “All of a sudden now, the permission has been granted for plying the public bus service (from Punjab to the IGIA). I want to ask what change in the law has taken place now as for the past five years, buses from Punjab could not ply. Under which law it (the bus service) was stopped and now under which rule, it has been restarted,” asked Bajwa in the House.
Transport Minister Bhullar said that it was after a Supreme Court order that these buses were stopped. He hit back at the opposition stating that the previous government did not have the intent and so the bus operations were not restarted.
Bajwa further pointed out that the former transport minister Amrinder Singh Raja Warring had even met Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal for the restart of the bus service and “we were denied this”.
He claimed that the state transport undertaking suffered a loss of Rs 5 crore per year and Rs 25 crore for five years on account of buses not being allowed to ply to the Delhi airport.
Bajwa told the transport minister that 13 letters were written by the then ministers in the Congress government for restarting the bus service. Warring added that he had even taken up the issue with the Airport Authority of India in this regard, but got a reply that the ball was in Delhi government’s court. Warring asked Bhullar to produce any document relating to giving permission for restart of the bus service to the IGIA. Warring asked the transport minister if there was any Supreme Court ruling which allowed for the restart of the bus service to the airport.
Bajwa accused the transport minister of misleading the House. “The minister should table the documents. Unless he does it, he is misleading the House,” Bajwa said.
Bajwa raised the matter again during the zero hour and insisted that the minister should corroborate his claim.
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