More than twelve hours have passed after the government agreed to grant the OBC status to the Jats in Haryana. But the news is yet to bring any relief to a few thousand passengers who are stranded at the Kashmiri Gate ISBT in New Delhi.
On Monday, this reporter came to the terminal in the morning hoping that the announcement would have ended the agitation, and that people would finally be able to catch a bus to their respective destinations. But his hope proved to be in vain.
The last three days were not as chaotic as Monday. Passengers are now running thin on patience and are blaming the government for not making any efforts to help the stranded passengers. In the afternoon, passengers tried to block the main road outside the terminal, but they were whisked away by the police. Most of them complained that they don’t have money and it’s difficult for them to arrange food.
Every now and then, passengers go up to the reservation counters at the terminal to check if there is any update. And the staff at the counter have only one answer — that they are helpless and can’t run the service until things settle down.
As soon as a bus drives into the terminal, passengers make a dash towards it to ask the driver if he is going to Punjab or Himachal Pradesh. And they come back with dejection writ large on their faces when the drivers tell them that they aren’t ready to take the risk yet.
This reporter spoke to several passengers from Punjab, who were frustrated that the government had not made any alternative arrangements for the stranded people. Many said that there was no information on when the services would be resumed.
“I came here in the morning after hearing the news that traffic has resumed on the NH1, but no buses are going there,” said Neeru Singh, a professor in a government college in Patiala, who is also stuck in Delhi since the past three days. “The government should have made alternative arrangements, but no effort is visible on the ground.”
There are some passengers who don’t have enough money to book a hotel in the city. “I am here since Saturday. I don’t have money to book a hotel for 10 members of my family. We are waiting here only,” said a resident from Patiala.
For many other stranded ones, however, it’s time to explore New Delhi. A group of foreign students studying in Chitkara University in Chandigarh, stuck here for the last two days, have visited the Red Fort. One of the students from France told me that they’re new to the city and don’t know where to go other than the location of their hotel in Delhi.