Eight out of 12 approved buses have arrived in Mathura. The service will be functional on two routes including Vrindavan – Raya and Vrindavan – Gokul.
Mathura, 2022-01-06 (Ashee Sharma): Putting an end to the long wait, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath virtually inaugurated the new low-floor electric bus service in Mathura-Vrindavan on Tuesday (January 4, 2022). During the ceremony, which was live telecast on TV, YouTube and social media channels, the CM dedicated eight buses and a charging point between Daruka Parking and Gosahala to the public.
According to municipal commissioner Anunay Jha, 12 of the 50 proposed buses were approved for Mathura. Further, the eight 42-seaters that are here have been divided equally between two routes, namely, Vrindavan-Raya (via Attalla Chungi, Birla Mandir, Jaisinghpura, Bhuteshwar, and new bus stand) and Vrindavan-Gokul (via Masani Choraha and new bus stand). While JNNURM’s CNG buses continue to run in rural areas, the new service will connect important destinations in the city, thereby reducing dependency on petroleum products to a large extent.
The new comes as big relief for Vrindavan residents who have been reeling under the adverse effects of extreme air and sound pollution. The New Year began on a grim note with the town being ranked the most polluted city in the state, and one of the top-ten polluters in India on November 8, 2021. The ‘hazardous’ AQI of 475 on a scale of 500 forced the authorities to order an enquiry into the matter last week.
However, this is not the first instance. The alarm bells should have been set ringing for city administration way back in October 2021 when Vrindavan diverged from its usual 120-150 range to report an AQI of 292 post Dussehra. The problem was bound to worsen with the deepening of winters.
Vehicular traffic, particularly from neighbouring Delhi-NCR, is one of the main reasons behind the poor air quality in Vrindavan. The fact was also corroborated by municipal commissioner Anunay Jha in a recent interview with Vrindavan Today where he said that the introduction of electric bus service will bring some respite from the situation.
It will also help in easing out Traffic in Vrindavan that has long been a pressing concern both from the point of view of management as well as safety, especially on festivals when devotees arrive in the town in huge numbers. While on the one hand vehicles clog the narrow lanes making it difficult for people to navigate them, on the other, overloaded battery rickshaws (operating without a license) and tempos running on dilapidated roads poses a big risk to lives. Several mishaps in which people lose their lives are reported every year.
Other than these direct consequences, the indirect perils of reckless traffic management measures that are sporadically implemented to prevent heavy vehicles from clogging narrow lanes on busy days can also be averted with a well-planned and well-connected public transport system. An unfortunate example is that of Shri Radharaman Mandir’s Govind Goswami ji who recently lost his life due to thoughtlessly installed chain-link barriers.