Punjab gets amphibious bus with ‘Harike Cruise’

Chandigarh, Dec 12 (IANS) Nearly two years after it was announced, the Punjab government on Monday launched its ambitious amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near Amritsar.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal launched the bus and took the inaugural ride with officials and media.

“We had promised to launch the amphibious bus that will travel on land and in water. Our opponents were criticising us for not starting the project. I hope that the launch of the bus will put the record straight,” he told reporters.

The bus project has cost the state government over Rs 11 crore.

The bus will be run by the Punjab Tourism department and tourists coming to the wetland will be able to enjoy its 4-km ride in water and on land.

Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal criticised the launch.

“He (Badal) is making a fool of people. It is just a boat which also has wheels,” Bhattal said on Monday.

The Congress also expressed “utter disdain” at the scheme.

“Badal is making a mockery of the people of the state at a time when they were deprived of even basic essentials needed for their survival,” said a party statement.

“Like the rest of the country, people of Punjab are reeling under the burden of demonetisation, economic crisis, industrial and agricultural downfall. They don’t need resorts and cruises,” it added.