SIALKOT      -    Though launched one and half months ago, the project of running double Decker tourist bus service on Sialkot city’s roads seems to has been snagged on lack of coordination between the Sialkot district administration and other departments concerned including Gepco.

The officials concerned said that the tourist bus service project was launched in Sialkot without evolving any strategy or making foolproof planning the district administration. The officials, requesting anonymity, informed that the tourist bus could make only a single tour in and around the Sialkot city after its launching on September 16,2019 due to lack of mutual coordination between the district administration and other departments concerned.

They revealed that actually the tourist bus service project had faced multiple problems since the day of its launching. This project was planned in hurry and was launched without any proper operational mechanism.

The officials pointed out that the main problem the double Decker bus service faced is the dangling electric cables and electricity pylons on all almost all the inter-city roads. “This’s the reason why this tourist bus could not success,” they claimed. “During its first tour, Gepco linemen also travelled atop the double Decker bus and were getting aside the electric cables with wipers to ensure safe and easy passage of this bus,” they recalled.

Now, the tourist bus service has been suspended for the last one and half months and this project is in doldrums.

The tourist bus’ managerial staff said that the hanging down main electric cables on inter-city roads were the main reason behind the suspension of the tourist bus service.

The officials added that they had repeatedly approached the concerned officials of Gepco Sialkot for removal of these low electric cables and electric pylons from there in a bid to give safe and easy passage to this bus. But, the Gepco officials said that they will soon issue demand notice to Sialkot district administration after estimating the expenditures to be incurred ‘on this work’.

Both the district administration and Gepco have been blaming each other for this inordinate delay, in this regard.

Only a single double Decker bus was used to start this tourist bus service by Sialkot district administration. Now, the bus has been parked at its main terminal established near Nawaz Sharif Hockey Stadium Sialkot.

On September 16,2019, two provincial ministers - Ch Muhammad Ikhlaq (Provincial Minister for Special Education Punjab), Mian Muhammad Khalid (Provincial Minister for Provincial Disaster Management Punjab) and the then Sialkot Deputy Commissioner Dr Syed Bilal Haider had jointly launched the Sialkot Tourist Bus Service at a special ceremony held at its main terminal near hockey stadium Sialkot here.

Sialkot was the second district in Punjab after Lahore where this tourist bus (Double Decker) service was launched in active collaboration with Sialkot exporters.

Rs30 million would be spent on project of “Sialkot Tourist Bus Service”, with main purpose to promote the culture of Sialkot among the local, national and foreign tourists as well.

Sialkot district administration had identified as many as 14 different tourist and historic points for this double Decker bus in Sialkot city including historical Iqbal Manzil Sialkot (the birth place of Allama Iqbal), historical Shawala Teja Singh and picnic spot Head Marala as well.

Sialkot’s social, educational, business and political circles have expressed grave concern over this tourist bus service lying suspended here. They have urged the Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to look into the matter for the early restart of this tourist bus service in Sialkot in the larger interest of the local people.

40 Factories Fined For Pay Against Fixed Salaries

The Labour Department officials have challaned as many as 40 factories and industrial units for paying the workers less wages against salaries fixed by the government for industrial workers and labourers in Gujranwala Division.

The officials concerned informed that the Punjab government has already fixed Rs17,500 as monthly salary of factory labourers, but the owners of 40 factories and industrial units were found paying less salaries to their workers. The labour department officials conducted sudden raids on less-salaries paying industrial units and challaned them heavily in Gujranwala Division’s all the six Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Hafizabad and Gujranwala districts, besides issuing them the final warning notices, in this regard.