Bus, train to Lahore finds few takers from Amritsar


Amritsar : Very few passengers from India are boarding the bus service from here to Lahore and Nankana Sahib in Pakistan and the numbers are likely to go down further with the Ministry of External Affairs issuing a travel advisory asking Indians not to travel to Pakistan.

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Started in 2006, the Amritsar-Lahore and Amritsar-Nankana Sahib (the birthplace of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev) bus services have never been a big hit with people due to the lack of a facility for obtaining Pakistani visas from here. Passengers still have to get the visa from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

“The number of passengers from here is sometimes as low as two or three. The bus service is not really a hit. More people travel from the Pakistan side,” a transport official at the international bus stand here told IANS.

Most of those travelling on the bus from here are Pakistani nationals going back. Only a few Indians, especially businessmen from here, use the service.

“I use the bus to travel to Lahore for business purposes,” leading exporter to Pakistan Rajdeep Uppal told IANS.

The Samjhauta Express peace train between both countries that runs between Lahore and Attari station, 30 km from here, too is seeing a drop in passengers from India in recent weeks.

“Most of those returning on the train from here are Pakistani nationals. After the Mumbai terror attack, the number of passengers has reduced. With the latest travel advisory, the figure will further go down,” an immigration official at Attari station said.

The train runs from Attari to Lahore twice a week – on Monday and Thursday. Most passengers boarding the peace train actually come on the Samjhauta link train from Delhi to Attari.

The Samjhauta link train was targeted February last year by miscreants and the blasts set two bogies of the moving train on fire near Panipat city in Haryana. Sixty-seven people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were burnt to death in the incident.