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SRTC Starts Much Awaited Srinagar- Kishtwar Bus Service

Srinagar- In what is being considered as a step towards upgrading Jammu and Kashmir’s rural-urban road connectivity, the administration on Tuesday launched the first ever Kishtwar-Srinagar bus service ending decades-long wait of the locals.

Notably, last year in October, the government had agreed to allow travel between Kishtwar and Srinagar through J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) bus via Kishtwar-Sinthan-Kokernag-Anantnag road. However, the bus service wasn’t started due to some issues.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, In-charge, JKSRTC Kishtwar, Shafqat Hussain said that this is a historic day as this is for the first time that such a bus service has been launched in the district.

“Our first bus and batch left the district at seven in the morning along with 32 passengers. This is a historic day as our people were consistently demanding such a kind of bus service that was cheap and hassle free.” Hussain said.

To begin with, the department has decided to run only one bus per day from both Srinagar and Kishtwar. The bus has a capacity to hold around 32 passengers with enough space in the lower & upper compartments of the bus that can hold luggage of the travellers. Travel will be by a ticket permit system, once the identities of the travellers are verified.

“The total travel time from Kishtwar to Srinagar is 6:30 hours. The bus will arrive in Srinagar at 1:30 and the same bus from Srinagar will leave the next day for Kishtwar. Another bus from Kishtwar via Daksum will leave for Srinagar tomorrow. It was only after the department had confirmed the condition of roads, the officials had sorted permission from District Magistrate Kishtwar, who after proper verification gave a green signal for running the bus service,” JKSRTC Kishtwar officer, Aijaz Dolwal told Kashmir Observer.

“The department will take a note of the number of daily travellers and if need arises, we will accordingly arrange more such buses from Kishtwar to Srinagar. The idea is to make our people travel without any troubles or without paying a hefty amount to local taxis.” another senior JKSRTC official said.

Meanwhile, the locals have also expressed a sigh of relief on the government's decision to run Kishtwar-Srinagar bus service.

“Earlier, the local taxi driver would charge us Rs 1000 for Kishtwar-Srinagar route. On the same route, the SRTC department is charging us Rs. 350. This journey by bus is much cheaper, comfortable and time saving.” says Firdaus Bhawani, a resident of Kishtwar.

“I’m sure, if everything goes as planned, the demand for this bus will gradually rise as everyone prefers a cheap and a comfortable ride,” he added
Another resident Sheikh Nasir said that people from Kishtwar were in desperate need of such buses.

"We're hopeful that the administration will launch more such buses for better and cheap road connectivity between our district and city," he said.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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