Lahore:November 18:THE newly launched CNG bus service has announced a daily partial strike for total five hours in the City after just one day of the start of its operation, courtesy the prevalent culture of hooliganism among college students who refuse to pay fare and dictate bus stops on a whim.
The operator of the CNG bus service, Foton, halted its operations from 7am to 9am and again from 12pm till 3pm daily in the provincial metropolis here on Thursday in reaction to violence by college students and decided to follow the routine on a daily basis.
The CNG buses, fresh from China, had started operating on Tuesday and it seemed that the Lahorites would finally breathe a sigh of relief by having an addition of over 100 buses in the public transport which had lately almost lost its presence. However, at around 9am on Thursday, students of the MAO College tried to condition the new buses with their hooliganism of traveling free of cost and forcing the driver to stop at points not designated as bus stops. A similar incident occurred in front of the Government Diyal Singh College. The drivers and conductors of the bus service resisted this vandalism and told the students that they would not allow any freeloaders on-board and will observe the designated stops. This infuriated the ‘vibrant youth’ who finally resorted to violence.
This is not the first time transport owners have been harassed and blackmailed by students, in fact anyone who runs his vehicles as public transport on routes that go by certain colleges, already know that students lawlessness comes with the package. There was no logical end to this until the transport owners bowed to the whims of students and if they were offered resistance, they could damage vehicles and assault the crew, said Munir Ahmed who operated 10 vans in the City.
The same happened on Thursday morning as the driver and conductor refused to bow before their demand of allowing free travel for the dozens of students. After an exchange of harsh words, it turned into a scuffle and following their legacy, the students thrashed the driver and conductor and started pounding the bus, breaking a window and destroying the LCD inside the bus.
The officials of Foton took immediate notice of the incident and a meeting was called at the Lahore Transport Company’s office where LTC Chairman Khawaja Ahmed Hasaan along with other officials tried to cool the complainants down, convincing them that such an incident would not take place again. However, the LTC officials could not prevent the transport operator (Photon) from shutting down the service across the City daily from 7am till 9am and from 12pm till 3pm.
The operators have not given any timeframe for ending the strike, however, they have demanded that an FIR be registered against the students in this regard. The LTC chairman has decided to send a security guard with every bus to avoid any mishap in the future, believing that this would also help convince the operator to end the partial strike.
He said an FIR would be registered against the offenders and they would be arrested and brought to justice. He went on to say that a precedent should be set by punishing the offenders and hooliganism must be stopped.
The student unions of both MAO College and Diyal Singh College have condemned the incident and disowned the students act, saying that they were not a party to any of such violence.The news.