Pakistan to suggest three stopovers on Delhi bus route
By Khurram Shahzad
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is to propose creation of three stopovers on the Lahore-Delhi bus service route to help passengers to reach destinations without going to New Delhi, at the talks between the technical teams of the service operators in Rawalpindi on Tuesday (today).
The Indian team consisting of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) Managing Director A J Sahani, External Affairs Ministry Director Wikas Sorup, Home Ministry Affairs director Petak Pathab, Government Transport Service (GTS), Delhi director K K Jindal, Ministry of Road Transport Section Officer Vivak Ashish and other officials arrived in Islamabad on Monday to participate in the talks.
They will have a two-day dialogue with the Pakistani authorities led by Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Malik Muhammad Habib Khan, PTDC Deputy Managing Director Azfar Shafqat, Pakistan Tours Limited (PTL) Manager Saeed Anwar, PTDC Accounts Manager Muhammad Ilyas and the joint secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Communications.
Mr Khan told Daily Times that the PTDC had arranged the talks to renew the bus service agreement on the instructions of both governments to maintain the momentum from the recent South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit and for confidence-building measures for the February dialogue. He said Pakistani and Indian Communications Ministry secretaries in New Delhi would sign the final agreement next month. He said both sides would discuss the modalities for the renewal of agreement in Tuesday’s meeting.
Talking about the agenda of the meeting, Mr Khan said that they would propose three new stopovers at Amritsar, Kartarpura and Panipat, to facilitate passengers to drop at their nearby destinations.
Presently no passenger can leave the bus before getting to Delhi or Lahore due to security reasons. Passengers of Amritsar, Kartarpura, Paniput and other areas of India, falling in the route have to travel hundreds of extra kilometers for coming back to their homes near to border from Delhi.
The PTDC official said that they would also propose the provision of visas to passengers for the cities falling on the bus route. He said that they might discuss steps to make immigration and customs process easier on the border.
He said Pakistan would propose the induction of a bus in the fleet to accommodate maximum passengers and would also discuss a raise in fare. “We want to increase the fare from Rs 900 to 1,500 as the present fare was adjusted five years ago and both of us can’t afford the service on this rate now,” Mr Khan said.