Odisha plans expansion of bus services to major pilgrimage sites across India

Odisha's government intends to enhance its bus services by connecting the state with prominent religious destinations like Ayodhya, Varanasi, Mathura, Ujjain, and Tirupati.
A proposed model of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
A proposed model of Ram temple in Ayodhya. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha is planning to augment the operations of government buses and connect the state with prominent pilgrimage sites in the country. As part of the plan, buses of Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) will be engaged to ferry devotees to the religious sites.

“In the first phase, we are planning to launch bus services from Odisha to pilgrimage destinations like Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura (Vrindavan) in Uttar Pradesh, Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh,” Commerce and Transport Minister Bibhuti Bhushan Jena told The New Indian Express on Monday.

Jena said bus operations to connect Odisha with other famous religious places will be launched at a later stage. “Our priority is to provide bus services to everyone in the state. Efforts will also be made to improve the revenue of OSRTC and make its business profitable like that of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC),” he said.

Sources said Andhra Pradesh is unwilling to permit private buses of Odisha to carry out operations between the two states as it may impact the business of APSRTC. Hence, operation of OSRTC buses in Andhra Pradesh and other neighbouring states will be increased in the coming days.

As of now, OSRTC has a fleet of at least 478 buses. For convenience of devotees, the government has also planned to provide bus services from every block headquarters to Puri during Rath Yatra festival on July 7.

In a bid to foster a sustainable public transport system, the government will run more electric buses in Odisha. Besides, e-buses will be engaged to carry out inter-state operations at places having EV charging infrastructure. “We are expecting to receive a decent number of vehicles under PM-eBus Sewa scheme,” said Jena.

The minister also informed that OSRTC bus operations between Umerkote and Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar and Machkund and Cuttack and Baliguda will resume soon.

On the day, Jena held a meeting with Transport Secretary Usha Padhee, commissioner Amitabh Thakur and OSRTC officials and discussed measures to strengthen bus services in the state.

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The New Indian Express