GUWAHATI, March 17 � City bus service in Guwahati started in and around 1949. The route was stretched between Pandughat and Uzanbazar Jahajghat. The buses plied to and from Pandughat and Uzanbazar Jahajghat via Phansibazar (�Fancybazar� by the Hem Baruah Road running in front of the old Guwahati Central Jail), Sikh Mandir, Kamarpatty, Panbazar, Cotton College and Latasil, said noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika.
The octogenarian writer, who was talking to this correspondent, said late Prabin Choudhury, a former minister of the State and son of another former minister of the State late Rohini Choudhury, launched the city bus service in Guwahati under the banner of his South Kamrup Transport Company.
However, Hazarika said some sources contradict this, claiming that late Subha Barua of Uzanbazar was the man responsible for launching the city bus service in Guwahati. Significantly, the year of launching the city bus service in Guwahati remained the same � in and around 1949 � in this case also, Hazarika said.
It is indeed a fact that the bus services in South Kamrup areas between Chaygaon and Guwahati was the monopoly business of the South Kamrup Transport Company. But the Guwahati-Dhupdhara Bus Service was started by late Hari Barman, the owner of the Panbazar Barman Cabin. He used to drive the bus himself. But this bus service was not a daily one.
Another person, late Benudhar Sarma of Silpukhuri area, who was originally from Nazira, also operated a bus service between Guwahati and Dhupdhara before the World War II. He also used to drive his bus himself. He had a shop named Assam Cycle and Motor Company at Kamarpatty. He had a plan to shift his shop to Tokobari AT Road. But he died a premature death. For quite a long period, the abandoned chassis of his bus was lying on the GNB Road, in front of the plot on which the SBI Silpukhuri Evening Branch is located now. This chassis was later sold by his family members as scrapped iron.
Two Assamese Muslim gentlemen launched the Guwahati-Nagaon Bus Service before the World War II. They lived in the western part of Guwahati.
The Guwahati-Shillong Bus Service was initiated by Abdul Gaffur, a prominent businessman of Shillong in the 1920s. The Guwahati stand of that bus service was located at the site in which the Cotton College New Arts Building and Sudmersen Hall are now located. The old building of the Sudmersen Hall used to serve as a godown of that bus service.
Since the 1930s, the Shillong-Guwahati Route Bus Service was the monopoly business of the Commercial Carrying Company (India) Ltd. This was a Calcutta (now Kolkata)-based company. After Independence, the Assam Government took over the service and thus, the Assam State Transport Company was launched by the State Government.
In the mid-1930s, the State Government acquired the Panbazar bus stand area of the Shillong-Guwahati Route Bus Service to build the New Arts Building, New Physics Building and Sudmersen Hall of Cotton College and the bus stand was shifted to the present Paltanbazar site of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) complex.
Following the shifting of the bus stand, the taxi stand located in front of it was shifted to Phansibazar, near the old campus of the Guwahati Central Jail.
According to records, there were only three taxis in the Guwahati Taxi Stand till 1938. Of them, one was a convertible taxi with its top down. The rate of fare of this taxi was a little bit higher.
Till Independence, rickshaws pulled by men were available in Guwahati and their stand was at the Guwahati Railway Station. After Independence, these vehicles were replaced by the cycle rickshaws.
Till the early 1950s, Ghora Bagis, drawn by two horses, also ran in Guwahati and they were popular among the economically affluent sections of the Guwahatians as their fares were slightly higher compared to the rickshaws, said writer Hazarika.