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Varanasi-Kathmandu ‘friendship’ bus service comes to a halt

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Lucknow: The ‘maitreya’ (friendship) bus service between Varanasi and Kathmandu, which started amid much fanfare, has been put to a halt, allegedly due to administrative and financial issues.

Photo credit: www.uttamup.com
Photo credit: www.uttamup.com

The service, which was started around five months back by the Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) to strengthen bilateral ties through people-to-people contacts between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency and the Nepalese capital, has been “prematurely shelved” owing to “poor management and bad revenue,” the source said.

Despite the hype generated, not even a contract was signed with Kaushik Logistics, the company roped in to run the service, the source said. The service was launched by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and state Transport Minister Durga Prasad Yadav on March 4.

The bus ran into rough weather initially as the load factor was abysmal but slowly picked up and the bus started running to packed capacity until technical and operational glitches emerged as stumbling blocks.

While the service was hit briefly by the devastating April 25 Nepal earthquake, it started suffering as the company running it withdrew as neither “a written formal contract nor any parameters were set for (providing) diesel”.

Officials said that initially the file pertaining to these two issues was moved but then UPSRTC additional managing director K. Vijyendra Pandyan did not take a call and returned the file. He was soon transferred and even his successor, on emergency basis, Chief Principal Manager (Administration) Surendra Kumar, did not pay heed to the file.

Tired and disgusted at the callous attitude of the state-run transporter, Kaushik Logistics earlier this month sent it a letter throwing up its hands in despair and saying it could not run the service in these conditions.

Kaushik Logistics Manager Wadihul said that the company had given an August 20 deadline but the state government failed to respond. Hence they were forced to stop the service, “which had enough promise if handled well and seriously”.

With inputs from IANS

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BSP and SP Gearing up For Alliance

If the BSP, SP and RLD join hands, it may emerge as a formidable alliance against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

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Uttar Pradesh
CM Akhilesh Yadav-UP Elections, Source- Wikimedia

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav will hold a joint press conference here on Saturday when the alliance between them for the coming Lok Sabha polls is likely to be announced.

An invitation, jointly signed by SP General Secretary Rajendra Chowdhary and BSP General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, has been circulated to the media for the press conference at a five-star hotel here.

Informed sources said that the two former Chief Ministers might formally announce the formation of the alliance for the Lok Sabha polls and also share the seat-sharing formula.

A tactical alliance between SP and BSP – once sworn enemies – helped them defeat the BJP in Lok Sabha by-elections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur last year. The two parties also backed the candidate of RLD-led by Ajit Singh to win the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency.

Mayawati
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati (IANS)

Four-time Chief Minister Mayawati flew into Lucknow late on Thursday and is likely to deliberate with her party leaders on Friday before sealing the deal with SP.

A senior party leader said that while the SP and BSP will share 37 seats each, they will leave two for Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).

The alliance might also leave two seats, Amethi and Rae Bareli, for the Congress to enable Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi to contest from there.

Also Read: Why Modi in Hurry to Get New CBI Director, Asks Congress

These were the only two seats the Congress won in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in which the BSP drew a blank and SP managed to win five seats, again won by members of the Samajwadi Party’s ‘first family’.

The BJP swept 71 seats while its ally Apna Dal got two seats in a four-way contest.

If the BSP, SP and RLD join hands, it may emerge as a formidable alliance against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. (IANS)