Pune, 9th May 2022: Due to the summer holidays and Sunday, tourists and fort lovers thronged the Sinhagad fort yesterday. However, they had to bear the brunt of the e-bus that had run out of charging. Even after waiting in line for two-three hours in the hot sun, there was no bus to get down from the fort.
Since May 1, private vehicles are not being allowed on the fort. You have to park your vehicle at the base and then board the e-bus.
The enraged citizens were expressing their displeasure in strong words against the sloppy planning of the Forest Department and Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) administration.
From 1st May 2022, an e-bus has been launched on an experimental basis to the Sinhagad fort. Parking has been arranged for private vehicles at Donje and e-bus has been provided from there. Two charging points have been set up at the parking lot at Sinhagad fort for e-bus charging.
A large number of tourists and fort lovers had come to Sinhagad on Sunday (May 8). More than 3,000 people had reached the top of the fort, but in the afternoon, 12 out of 20 e-buses stopped working due to the lack of charging.
Five CNG buses were ordered but they also had to wait for cooling as their brake pads were getting hot. For hours, angry citizens lined up and started arguing with the PMPML staff. The staff, however, seemed to be overwhelmed by the shutdown of the bus due to a lack of charging.
“We waited in line for three hours but did not get the bus. My daughter underwent a leg operation, but we had to walk down as there was no option,” said Nita Ramesh Thakkar, a senior citizen.
“Many citizens can’t afford a ticket price of Rs 50 for a one-way trip. The four of us have to shell out Rs 200,” said Rupali Ravindra Telangi, Pimpri Chinchwad.
“On our way to the fort, the bus stopped in the Ghat. We were shifted into another bus. The other bus was suddenly coming back from the climb. We were scared so we jumped off the bus. Lots of lives were at risk,” informed Ganesh Kale, Thergaon.
“As it was a holiday, we had gone to Sinhagad fort with our close relatives. Eight other members, including children, went to the bus, but due to the crowd, we were not allowed to sit. Who will be responsible if anything happens?,” asked Sarika Ashok Kotwal, a resident of Sinhagad Road.
“There is a bit of confusion in the planning as it is a new beginning. Parking will also be facilitated for charging. Everything will be fine from next week,” informed Pradip Sankapal, Bhamburda Forest Range Officer, Forest Department.
“Ten to twelve buses are shut due to lack of charging. It takes about an hour for a bus to get charged. The Swargate bus depot has been informed and buses have been ordered. Arrangements are being made to send everyone down,” said Ashok Thombre, Assistant Traffic Control, PMPML, Swargate Depot.
After getting complaints from people, Baramati MP Supriya Sule tweeted that the number of e-buses is being increased to 15 and now there will be four charging stations.