Rickety buses lie abandoned at Agrico depot on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
The state bus depot at Agrico, with its rickety fleet of 33, can look forward to better days ahead.
The transport department has sanctioned Rs 1.36 crore for revamp of the dilapidated terminus, which also houses the office of the Jamshedpur divisional manager of the transport corporation.
It is evident that the administration has woken up from a 12-year-long slumber because this will be the first time when funds have been sanctioned for the depot since Jharkhand was born. Also, the grant — received by East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande on Saturday — will facilitate repair work at the depot after nearly five decades. The last job was done in 1961.
The Agrico depot is spread over an acre and has 33 long-distances buses, of which 13 are on road and 20 lie idle. The dilapidated terminus building too harbours more plants than humans. The 13 buses ply from the city to various destinations in the state, mostly Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Bokaro and Dhanbad. A few trips are also made to Patna and Muzaffarpur in Bihar.
Jamshedpur divisional manager Vinod Kumar Singh said they had drawn attention to the pitiable condition of the depot and its buses during the visit of then transport secretary K.K. Khandelwal in December last year.
“The funds will be used for infrastructure revamp. We had submitted an estimate of Rs 3 crore in January following the transport secretary’s advice. The district unit of the building construction department carried out the evaluation work. We hope to receive more aid soon,” he added.
Confirming the recent development, state transport commissioner Ram Karan Ram said they had sanctioned the corpus for a first phase of repair and more funds were likely to flow. “It is upto the deputy commissioner to use the funds either through the building construction department or a private party selected through tender process. We hope construction work begins soon,” he added.
The state has also constituted a five-member committee to prepare a report on auctioning of old buses lying at different depots under the four divisional headquarters of the transport corporation in Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Ranchi and Dumka. The amount will be used to purchase new buses.
“The committee is, currently, going conducting the valuation process of buses. The auction is likely in the next fiscal (after March),” said Ram.
Sources in the transport department quoted the Motor Vehicles Act and said that a bus, which has covered a distance of 500,000km or served five years of operation, needs to be auctioned. Jamshedpur divisional headquarters has around 70 such buses, including those lying at Baridih and Chaibasa depots.
Sources said each of the old buses would fetch not less than Rs 2 lakh during auction, while new buses can be purchased at Rs 20 lakh.
Currently, the Jamshedpur division generates revenue in the range of Rs 12-14 lakh a month.
Do you think funds for Agrico depot will be properly used?