|The Esplanade bus hub
The state government has told the high court that it has started the process of shifting bus terminuses from Esplanade and Strand Road but the judges hearing the matter were not too happy with the plan for private buses.
A seven-member committee headed by chief secretary Sanjay Mitra tabled a report in the court on Thursday, detailing the plan to implement a high court order to take the two terminuses beyond 3km from Victoria Memorial.
The order was issued on a petition pleading for steps to protect the marble monument from air pollution.
After going through the report, the bench of Justice Asim Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee observed: “We would have been more satisfied if you had provided information about shifting of private buses.”
The report states that seven terminuses would come up to accommodate buses using the Esplanade and Strand Road hubs — three in New Town, and one each in Sector V, Tollygunge, Kidderpore and off Nabanna. The proposed terminuses in Tollygunge, Kidderpore and Mandirtala will be used only for government buses. The ones in New Town — near Derozio College, and Jalvayu Vihar and Balaka housing estates — will be used for government and long-distance private buses.
As for the plan for private buses, the report stated: “The private bus organisations and operators of long-distance buses have assured us that they would shift their terminals from Esplanade and Strand Road soon.”
The terminus near Derozio College in New Town is coming up on a 10-acre plot that Hidco has handed over to the transport department. The ground, first and second floors of the eight-storeyed building will be used for parking buses. Hidco will use the other floors commercially.
“A team of traffic planning experts visited Delhi and Chennai to find out how multi-level bus parking lots operate and have prepared a blueprint,” said a transport department official.
The Tollygunge terminus will come up on a Graham Road plot belonging to the animal husbandry department. The hub on Hyde Road in Kidderpore has been planned on a 4.5-acre port trust plot. “Construction of the Hyde Road terminus will proceed along with that of the multi-level parking lot off Nabanna in Mandirtala,” said an official.
Thursday’s report followed a November 2 order of the high court that had set up the panel to file a report on the shifting of the bus terminuses from Esplanade and Strand Road. Green activist Subhas Datta, on whose petition the court issued the shift order, expressed satisfaction over the action taken by the transport department and the committee.