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Bus terminus to ease Writers’ shift

Calcutta, Aug. 24: The government has decided to build a bus terminus near the HRBC Building in Howrah, where 11 Writers’ departments including the chief minister’s office will be shifted temporarily, to ensure better transport facilities to the new seat of power.

“The transport department has identified six acres near the (Vidyasagar Setu) toll plaza where the bus terminus will come up,” chief secretary Sanjay Mitra said at a news conference at Writers’. The government circulated a compilation of frequently asked questions on the proposed shift and their answers. (See chart)

According to the plan, the transport department has asked all state transport undertakings to rejig their Howrah-bound routes so that buses travel up to the proposed terminus in Mandirtala.

“The five undertakings have been asked to submit a plan to the department on how they can take all Howrah-bound buses to the terminus. For example, a CTC bus that runs between Garia and Howrah station will travel up to Mandirtala,” a transport department official said.

Officials said that if the plan materialised, the problem of lack of transport to the HRBC Building would be solved. The problem had been highlighted by the employees’ unions.

Transport secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay said the five transport undertakings would be allotted space on the six-acre plot so that they can set up dedicated channels.

“We will provide all possible assistance to the undertakings to start their services from Mandirtala by October 1. All facilities may not be available within such a short period but bus services will definitely start by October 1,” Bandopadhyay said.

There will be facilities such as cafeterias, public toilets, restrooms and police outposts at the proposed terminus.

The HRBC will install air-conditioning on all the floors at its building, convert two goods lifts into passenger lifts and arrange for a round-the-clock power back-up on the 13th and 14th floors. These two floors will house the offices of the chief minister, chief secretary and the home secretary. Roads and drains will be widened and proper approach roads to the building built.

The PWD will undertake all the interior work and install communication systems, including Internet and cable TV facilities, and water coolers.

THE QUESTIONS

Will the renovation, restoration and repositioning lead to changes in the facade of Writers’ Buildings?

No. If any changes over the years have eroded its heritage character, they will be reversed

How does the government propose to execute the project?

Besu and JU will be involved. They will submit concept plans and the project will be finalised in consultation with the institutions. PWD will execute the project.

(The Telegraph has been highlighting the need to hire international experts to plan and
execute the project)

How does the government plan to address the concerns of the employees?

The archive — where rare government documents are stored — will not be transferred to HRBC. The secretariat library, which houses important government books and manuals, will also not be relocated. The service record section, which handles pension papers, will not be shifted

Which departments will be shifted temporarily?

CMO, chief secretary and his office, home, finance, PWD, information and cultural affairs, personnel and administrative reforms, land and land reforms, minorities and
agriculture

Could the large-scale shifting be avoided?

A committee headed by then chief secretary Samar Ghosh had recommended phase-wise shifting. But the increasing congestion, aggravating vulnerabilities/hazards and the practical constraints involved in implementation of a comprehensive time-bound project have led to a partial rethink

How much will the restoration of Writers’ cost?

The cost can be estimated only after the concept plan and scope of work are finalised