Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
The Delhi Transport Minister, Ajay Makan, handing over the first ticket for the resumed Delhi-Lahore bus service in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI
Giving away the first ticket at the Ambedkar Stadium Terminal was the Delhi Transport Minister, Ajay Maken. His Government had done everything possible to ensure that the buses hit the road at the earliest, he claimed.
For Abdullah it was a pleasant surprise. ``I am going to Rawalpindi to meet my sister,'' he said, adding that the travel would save him a lot of money.
Abdullah was lucky to hog the limelight, as Chandrashekhar Kulkarni from Mumbai, who was actually issued ticket number one, did not turn up.
Another person who attracted media interest was Sunil Lalwani of Indore. Born and brought up in Larkana area of Sindh in Pakistan, he had migrated to India in 1987 and set up a steel and iron business. ``We are Hindus but our family had not been able to migrate during Partition and so 99 per cent of my relatives are in Pakistan,'' he said.
Noting that this father, a doctor, wanted him to establish himself in India, Sunil said even after marrying a Pakistani, Sangeeta, he had moved here and subsequently applied for Indian citizenship, which he duly received.
While Sunil is not travelling to Pakistan, his parents Jeomal Lalwani and Meera Bai who had come over to India two years ago will be returning ``home'' on July 30.
A number of people flocked to the booking office.
While some managed to procure the tickets on valid visas, others had to go to the Pakistan High Commission to get the ``bus'' visa for undertaking the journey.
Incidentally, while there is lot of euphoria among the ordinary people with respect to restoration of the bus service, the official response is rather subdued.
As yet there are no grand plans for a flag-off and unlike last time when the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, had taken the inaugural bus to Lahore, this time there are no important persons lined up for the ride.
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