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Inter-state bus operators struggle amid dam repair

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SHILLONG, July 3: The inter-state bus operators running night super buses from Shillong to various regional destinations have been functioning without an Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) for months due to ongoing repair work at the Umiam dam, and now their primary plea is that the work be completed early.
Since retrofitting work began on the Umiam dam in January, numerous night super buses, which once operated from the Shillong ISBT, have been without a proper depot. They are now forced to operate from a lay-by near Umiam Lake.
Although this arrangement was meant to be temporary, it has dragged on for months with no response from state authorities to the pleas of both bus operators and passengers.
Some bus operators report severe lack of basic facilities, such as toilets, water, and shelter, as they park their buses on the lay-by, braving rain and sun.
“Even though there are no facilities and the lay-by is government-owned, we are paying a parking fee of Rs 200 every day,” said one bus operator.
Passengers also face significant inconveniences when traveling to Shillong from Umiam, as they are dropped off early in the morning at Umiam and are often overcharged by local taxis. In some cases, the cost of traveling from Umiam to Shillong is higher than traveling from Shillong to other states.
Despite these ongoing issues, neither the government nor the administration has addressed the difficulties faced by passengers and bus operators.
With the retrofitting work at the dam expected to be completed in a month’s time, both bus operators and passengers will continue to bear the brunt.

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