Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, along with senior officials of Transport Department visited ISBT, Betkuchi; ASTC, Paltan Bazar and Machkhowa to oversee the safe transportation of stranded people by Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) buses today.
Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said, “On Day 1, Transport Department has put 323 buses into service for facilitating the travel of around 5,000 registered passengers for short-distance journey in 18 districts namely, Biswanath, Bongaigaon, Cachar, Darrang, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Hailakandi, Hojai, Jorhat, Kamrup Metro, Karimganj, North Lakhimpur, Majuli, Nagaon, Sivasagar, Sonitpur, Tinsukia, Udalguri.”
To ensure social distancing, each ASTC bus carried 15-20 passengers within short distances only on Day 1. The ASTC operation will be done in the three days window period from April 25 to 27 for the people without any vehicles or means of transport.
The total number of registered applicants through 104 helpline number was 41,651. The lines were closed on midnight of April 23rd, 2020. An initial message was sent to all registered applicants that their request has been accepted. It may be mentioned that the declared red zone districts were excluded from this purview.
A thorough plan was made to categorize the passengers district-wise. For the first phase, priority was to send the passengers between two nearest districts. Accordingly, ASTC sent SMS Ticket to around 5,000 people yesterday, containing the bus details, boarding point, serial number, origin and destination, time and date of journey etc. Only those people were allowed to travel in buses who showed the confirmed SMS Ticket.
In Guwahati, for the next two days, ASTC, Paltan Bazar, Machkhowa, Adabari and ISBT, Betkuchi have been fixed as the designated boarding points. ASTC will also arrange adequate free bus service to pick up the people from different city bus stoppages. People with confirmed SMS Ticket only will be allowed to board the bus and they will be taken to the above boarding points for facilitating them to their respective destinations. For other districts, ASTC headquarter bus stations will be the boarding points.
Akhil has been in judicial custody since December 27, 2019, for alleged links with the Maoists. Akhil was first arrested by Assam police on December 12 from Jorhat and was then handed over to the NIA on December 17.
Photo Credit: Twitter Handle (Chandra Mohan Patowary)