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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Pune: 2,300 PMPML buses go off roads, essential services staff hit

Though the orders issued by PMC and PCMC on Friday said PMPML service will run for those involved in essential services, the transport body didn't ply any of its buses on Saturday.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: April 3, 2021 6:36:39 pm
PMPML bus servuce, PMPML, PMC< PCMC, Pune city news, Pune bus service, Indian expressPMPML has 2300 buses. It had been operating the fleet in phases since the lockdown was imposed in last March.

Tahira Shaikh, a hospital employee, waited at a PMPML bus stop in Kasarwadi area from 12 noon to 2.30 pm on Saturday. But for two-and-a-half hours, no bus turned up and she had no option but to return home. “I was told that bus service for employees involved in essential services will be operating. But no bus turned up…,” she told The Indian Express.

Like Shaikh, hundreds of hospital staff, as well as those involved in other essential services, were stranded across Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad on Saturday.

PMPML, the city’s transport body, withdrew all its 2,300 buses from roads in PMC and PCMC jurisdictions. Though the orders issued by PMC and PCMC on Friday said PMPML service will run for those involved in essential services, the transport body didn’t ply any of its buses on Saturday.

PMPML Joint Managing Director Chetana Kueru claimed that the orders issued by PMC and PCMC did not mention specific details. “Yes, there was confusion regarding the PMC and PCMC orders. We have asked them to give specific details… For instance, during last closure of bus services, they had told us their requirement on specific routes. Accordingly, we had provided them the required number of buses. This time, though the order mentions ‘except essential services,’ the specific details are missing…”.

“We have staff and buses ready at all our depots…if we get details, we will start the buses on Sunday,” she said.

Kueru said she was aware that several hospital employees and those involved in essential services were stranded. “Since morning, I have also received several complaints…,” she said.

The decision to shut PMPML services, except to ply personnel involved in essential services, was taken at the district review committee meeting presided over by Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday.

“When our order says except essential services, there is no need to define it, it is understandable… I will talk to the PMPML administration,” said District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh.

PCMC commissioner Rajesh Patil said he will look into the matter.

Meanwhile, BJP’s Pune unit, led by MP Girish Bapat, held a protest at Swargate depot against closure of bus services. He was taken into police custody and released later.

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