Assam CM directs state Transport department to make arrangements of ASTC buses for transporting stranded people

Guwahati, May 5: With the lockdown being relaxed, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday directed the state Transport department to do a mapping of its fleet of Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) buses in proportion to the people stranded in different places of the state and country to ensure their safe movement.

Chairing a meeting to review the preparedness of the state Transport department to push its fleet of buses into service to transport the stranded people of the state to their respective destinations at the conference hall of Assam Skill Development Mission in Guwahati, Sonowal said that in this time of extraordinary health emergency, the Transport department should provide qualitative services in line with the advisories given by the Health Department.

Thanking the Transport department for being on the frontline in providing emergency and essential services during the lockdown, Sonowal emphasized that the management and movement of the buses should be made judiciously to mitigate the hardships of the stranded people.

State Transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary giving a snapshot of different activities performed by the department during the lockdown period, told the Assam Chief Minister that his department during eight days from April 25 to May 2, moved 2090 buses to transport 32444 number of passengers.

He also drew the attention of the Chief Minister that for the benefits of the passengers and transporters besides permitting opening 45 Dhabhas along the highways, 85 garages were permitted to be opened during the lockdown period.

Patowary said that ASTC besides facilitating operation of 200 city buses, took steps for plying 284 inter-district buses.

On the other hand, the Assam Chief Minister said that to ensure that no resident of Assam faces any encumbrances during the lockdown period, the state government helped Food Corporation of India (FCI) to bring 5 lakh MT rice to the state.

“During the same period FCI brought 6.5 lakh MT rice for the entire Northeast. During this period besides 452 railway rakes, 44,732 goods laden trucks entered the state,” Sonowal said.

The Assam Chief Minister informed the press that during lockdown period for transporting essential foodstuff to different parts of the state 53118 trucks were pressed into service.

Sonowal urged upon the people of the state to adhere to social distancing protocols and underscored the state government’s efforts to ensure that no academic year is lost in the name of COVID 19.

The Assam Chief Minister later visited the Prem Singh Brahma Inter-State Bus Terminus and talked to the passengers.

He also took stock of the arrangements made by the ASTC for the operation of the fleet of buses.