The Local Government Minister, Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu today made a pathbreaking announcement and declared that the BRTS project would see complete inauguration on 15th October. The minister held a high level meeting here today and took stock of the various aspects of the project on the spot. He said that the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh had given the green signal to put this project back on track which was initiated by the previous regime with Rs. 500 crore cost. Mr. Sidhu further said that it was decided in today's meeting that the BRTS buses would provide facility of free travel for all for the first 3 months and the school children could avail this facility absolutely free of cost for all times to come. Today's meeting saw the Education and Environment Minister, Punjab, Mr. O.P. Soni, Lok Sabha MP Mr. Gurjit Singh Aujla, Mayor Mr. Karamjit Singh Rintu, MLA Dr. Raj Kumar Verka, Principal Secretary Finance Mr. Anirudh Tiwari, Secretary PWD Mr. Hussan Lal, Commissioner of Police Mr. S. Srivastava, Deputy Commissioner Mr. Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, Commissioner Municipal Corporation Mrs. Sonali Giri, Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr. Ravinder Singh and others in attendance.The minister while giving details regarding the BRTS project said that this 31 KM route would have 47 bus stations out of which 6 stations and 1 big bus stand are still under completion which is why the work has been postponed 1 month. He said that the government is not eyeing revenue generation from this project but instead focusing on the comfort and the facilitation of the people.
He further elaborated that all the buses would be run for a period of 6-7 months to gauge people's reaction which if turns out to be negative then the project would be partially modified. Then the buses would be run after allotting routes to them through corporation or some other institution.Speaking on the issue of autos causing pollution and hindrance to the project, Mr. Sidhu said that nobody's source of livelihood would be snatched away instead the facility of loan for running auto on CNG or battery would be provided thereby reducing the level of pollution.On the issue of traffic problem in the city, the minister divulged that the Bhandari Bridge, newly built as a part of this project, would be started the next week which would solve the traffic problem. Apart from this, the issue would be permanently addressed by constructing some flyovers and the bridges. He also said that under the smart city project tenders of Rs. 155 crores are being called next week and the work is expected to begin soon. Disclosing more, he said that the Union Government has approved a project worth Rs. 4000 crore for providing clean drinking water to the people of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala and the World Bank is also in the process of sanctioning Rs. 2000 crore which would see the project commencing shortly.On the issue of illegal colonies, Mr. Sidhu said that the case of one time settlement would be considered in the cabinet but no relief would be given to any illegal construction done after 31st March. He also made it clear that people would not be allowed to encroach upon the government lands and robbing the exchequer of the government fee.