Bhubaneswar, July 6: The opening of the long-awaited terminal for city bus service has been delayed yet again.
First, January 1 was set as the tentative deadline for getting the main terminal ready at Pokhariput. Then the date was postponed to June 30.
Now, six days after missing the deadline, construction is still on. Moreover, new concerns about issues such as origin-destination terminals, drinking water, toilet and rest rooms have cropped up.
There was a plan to provide two types of ramps with sheds for both big and small buses with washing facility. But the new terminal at Pokhariput is yet to have a proper ramp and the water supply tank is too small to provide enough water even for five big buses. The sheds constructed are also not enough to provide enough room for 10 staff of the operator running the city buses.
“There is a lot of pressure to operate more buses along new routes. But there are no basic facilities for our staff. As the buses run from early in the morning till 10 at night, there should be some resting facility at Master Canteen depot, but nothing is available. Due to the absence of origin-destination terminals, buses have to ply the extra distance just to return to the Master Canteen base,” said a senior officer of Dream Team Sahara, operator of the city buses on behalf of Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Services Limited, BPTSL.
Saroj Sahu, a businessman who travels by the city buses in the Capital, said the bus staff should be provided with basic facilities such as drinking water, restroom and toilets at Master Canteen. The new main terminal at Pokhariput should also have all these.
Gagan Bihari Swain, a marketing executive, said: “The state government should provide basic facilities as soon as possible so that people can get better city bus service.”
“The civic authorities must take the cause of the people to the appropriate level and solve the matter to expedite facilities and construction of origin destination terminals,” added Arabinda Pradhan, a student.
Officials of the BPTSL and housing and urban development department, however, informed that the infrastructure development for city bus service would come in a gradual manner, as in the metros like Delhi and Bangalore, it also took years.
But team members of the DTS are not buying the statement. “We are operating with much difficulties. During rath yatra as more buses were used, the absence of any washing bay/ramp created problems.
“Our staff members have to wash the vehicles with limited water by fetching them in buckets. As the vehicles badly needed sweeping and washing due to overuse by passengers, commuters for the next trip used to complain about unclean surroundings,” said a senior manager of DTS.
As per plan the exclusive depot-cum-bus terminal for the city bus service at Pokhariput will be spread over an area of 4.5 acres and can accommodate 150 buses. Bhubaneswar Development Authority has taken over the construction of the basic infrastructure at the terminal. Apart from the depot-cum-bus terminal, there will be five origin-destination terminals at Chandrasekharpur, VSS Nagar, Dumduma, Khurda and Nandankanan.
Though Mayor and BPTSL chairman, Ananta Narayan Jena, is hopeful that the Pokhariput terminal would be ready soon, operators are worried about two origin-destination terminals each in Puri and Cuttack.
A DTS official said: “Many buses that we have received from the manufacturing companies have come with damaged batteries, loosened rubber gaskets, solidified engine and gearbox oil.”