The city of Panchkula, a virtual mini-capital of Haryana, is essentially divided into two clear parts. One lies right next to Union territory, Chandigarh, with all the prominent offices of Haryana situated in this part and the other, famously known as the trans-Ghaggar sectors, falls on the side of the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway. The connectivity between these two parts is almost non-existent.
The 36 buses that run between Panchkula and Chandigarh, in gaps of at least an hour, go through a few of the sectors, but are not enough to serve the demands that arise with the populations.
There is no intra-city bus service or an official public transport system. “The people of the city have no way of commuting. They remain dependent on their personal vehicles. The people of the trans-Ghaggar sectors remain especially affected by this problem as the population of the areas is still low and thus even the autos do not go there”, said S K Nayar, president of Resident Welfare Associations of Panchkula.
A study by the Niti Ayog said that the presence of a transport system plays a major role in reducing poverty and checking deprivation in hinterlands.
Adding to this, in today’s times of rising pollution levels, having an effective public transport system will not only prove to be cheaper but also vital, as it saves fuel and curbs pollution.
“There is a massive cost involved in buying buses and implementing a city specific bus transportation project and though it should be a viable solution in the future as the population grows thicker, the administration, for now, can work on something that they already have. The auto-rickshaw community, that currently serves the city, can be formalised by the city administration and regularised to serve on specified routes with handsome incentives. The drivers can be made employees and work under the administration just as buses do but this would not require a hefty investment. Citizens do not much care about metros or buses or autos till they have a solution for their commuting. An administration can just put in some money and get the project going,” said Ravi Gadapalli, a public transport specialist.
Of the 36 inter-city buses, as many as 19 belong to the Haryana Roadways and 17 to Chandigarh transport undertaking (CTU) which take seven different routes.
While the CTU buses take three routes, from PGI to Sector 11/12 round about, PGI to Sector 20 and ISBT 43 to Sector 4; the Haryana Roadways buses take two different routes. The first one goes from Ramgarh village to Sector 17 ISBT and the second from Zirakpur to Sector 17 ISBT and 43 ISBT.
Both the routes taken by Haryana Roadways buses go via the Panchkula bus stand. Haryana Roadways had applied for a requirement in the increase in buses from the government last year, the reply for which is yet to come, inform sources at the district .