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Indo-PoK bus completes test drive

Source: PTI
March 20, 2005 19:26 IST
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The 19-seater mini-bus, which will ply on the Srinagar-Uri-Muzaffarabad route from April seven, undertook its first test-drive successfully on Saturday.

The stag mini-bus of Ashok Leyland undertook drove on the 313-km road till Kaman post, Jammu and Kashmir minister for Roads and buildings Gulam Ahmed Mir said on Sunday.

Unlike the luxurious Delhi-Lahore buses, Jammu and Kashmir government has selected 19-seater vehicles for the Srinagar-Uri-Muzaffarabad route because a major part of this route is hilly and only small buses can ply on it, he said.

Four stag buses have been readied, he added. These vehicles are fully air-conditioned with central heating facilities, installed TV sets and stereos, he said. The state-run J&K State Road Transport Corporation will run theses buses.

He said four more such vehicles are being purchased for this purpose and are being given a new look with special facilities, including a guide.

Meanwhile, India has submitted to Pakistan a list of 40 applicants wanting to travel in the first bus, but a similar list from the other side was awaited.

Highly placed sources said the first list comprises people from divided families mainly from Rajouri, Poonch and other bordering districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The bus would be flagged off by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from Srinagar on April seven.

The list was decided on first-come-first-serve basis and clearance from Pakistani authorities was awaited, the sources said.

Of the 40 people, only 30 would be cleared in the first lot and the remaining would be put on the waiting list, to be accommodated in the second bus in May this year.

The fare for the travel is Rs 750 one way and passengers will be required to pay the two-way fare in advance.

Pakistan has refused to issue any travel form to the people, mostly militants, who crossed over from Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir after the outbreak of militancy in 1990.

Pakistani media reports said there had been protests in Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK, against non-issuance of travel forms to people who went over there after 1990.

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