Vadodara: While chief minister Vijay Rupani came to the city again and kicked off ambitious schemes of the state government, a bus that he had inaugurated last year is still to become operational. The ‘Vadodara Darshan’ bus procured from the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Funds (MPLAD) of MP Ranjan Bhatt is yet to hit the roads.

Bhatt, according to sources, had given a MPLAD grant of Rs 25lakh for the bus that was designed at a cost of Rs 31.88 lakh. VMC had shared the remaining cost. The salaries of the staff and maintenance of the bus will be the responsibility of the civic body. Ahead of the inauguration of the bus, VMC officials had initially said that the heritage cell of the VMC would be operating the bus. It was to arrange for the staff, make bookings and handling operations of the tourist bus.

At the stage of the formal handing over of the bus on November 18 last year at the hands of Rupani officials had said that the bus would begin operations at a later stage. But few had expected the wait to be so long even as the bus is lying in the vehicle pool of the civic body.

Officials in the civic body now say that it will be the tourist department of the VMC that will operate the bus. Even if the department decides to do so, it will first have to look for necessary staff and, more importantly, a guide. Also, the Pravasi Gruh from where the VMC used to operate the tourist bus service ‘Niharika’ till the late 1990s has now been razed. The civic body will have to look for a new starting point.

The tourist department itself was caught unawares regarding the bus and has swung into action only after learning that the bus was lying unused and that Bhatt had written a mail to the VMC regarding it. “We will ensure that it begins operations immediately. I have sought all details regarding the service,” said H J Tapariya, in-charge of the tourist department of the VMC.

Bhatt said that she had followed up with the civic body on two occasions. “I hope they decide about the service at the earliest and do the needful,” she said. Notably, Bhatt is also the president of the city unit of the BJP that has a thumping majority in the VMC.

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