Diversion results in additional 50 km of journey

Worried over increasing attacks on Shirdi-bound buses by robbers in some parts of Maharashtra, the APSRTC authorities are diverting the Shirdi buses via Solapur-Timburni route to ensure the safety of passengers, despite the detour resulting in additional 50 km. journey.

This year, robbers struck thrice at Shirdi buses, including RTC and A.P. Tourism ones at different locations and made away with passengers gold and cash.

Earlier, buses used to shuttle on the Hyderabad-Humnabad-Omerga-Naldurg-Osmanabad-Bhoom-Jamkhed-Ahmednagar and Shirdi route. But since the last couple of weeks, RTC authorities are diverting the buses and operating on the Hyderabad-Humnabad-Omerga-Naldurg-Solapur-Timburni-Ahmednagar and Shirdi route.

This diversion comes in the wake of attacks by robbers on Shirdi bound buses at Bhoom and Jamkhed some 100 kms from Ahmednagar. In March, robbers struck a Hyderabad-bound A.P. Tourism Department bus from Shirdi at Solapur and in May, an RTC bus was attacked by robbers at Bhoom. Last month, a 10-member robbers gang struck Hyderabad-bound RTC bus from Shirdi and made away with gold and cash. Two passengers - Sumani and Shailaja - sustained minor injuries when robbers attacked them in the bus.

There is a ghat section and a jungle between Bhoom and Jamkhed and it is a robbery-prone area. All heavy vehicles like buses and trucks tend to go slow at this stretch and taking advantage of the situation, robbers attack them, explains APSRTC Ranga Reddy Regional Manager S. Vinod Kumar. APSRTC operates eight services on the Shirdi route, including those returning from Shiridi. “Though diverting buses on the new route results in additional 50 kms journey, we cannot compromise on passengers’ safety,” he says.

While, APSRTC is diverting its buses, private bus operators continue to operate their buses on the old Hyderabad-Naldurg-Bhoom-Jamkhed-Ahmednagar route. “To ensure passengers safety, all these buses are operated in clusters of four buses. Besides police patrolling vehicles accompany our vehicles on the Bhoom-Jamkhed section. Taking a detour consumes an extra hour and passengers complain about reaching late,” says H.S.C Bose, president of A.P. Private Bus Owners Association.

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