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Wait for bus at swanky sheds

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 31: The municipal corporation has entrusted construction of 159 modern rest sheds for bus passengers in the city.

While the exercise includes 148 common bus stops, 11 completed bus bays of the 55 proposed along various city bus routes will be covered in the public-private partnership mode.

Fourteen advertising agencies will build the sheds at their own cost. From their advertisement revenue, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation will yearly earn between Rs 8,000 and 10,000 per shed as licensing fee. Thus, the civic body will add nearly Rs 15 lakh to its annual revenue collection.

Earlier, there were 55 bus sheds at various locations, but due to road expansion and other developments many were either demolished or have to be shifted. Besides, after the introduction of city bus service on October 10, 2010, there was also a demand for bus bays where the city buses can enter, halt for sometime and pick up passengers. However, while there was a plan to have 55 bays across the city, only 11 are now having rest sheds after their completion.

Licensing officer of the corporation Srimanta Mishra said: “The lighted sheds will have advertisement space and a sitting platform made of steel. We have adopted some design concepts from the sheds developed in the metropolitan area in New Delhi.”

There will be no chair and only a flat steel plate will be provided for the waiting passengers to sit comfortably. “Our previous experience has taught us that vandalism can damage even iron chairs. So this time, we have opted for a sitting platform of quality steel,” he said.

Sources said that while nearly half of the bus sheds are nearing completion, a few are already completed at major locations. The work will be over within six months.

A bus passenger Aiswaryalaxmi Parida said: “The bus sheds near Jaydev Vihar and many other localities have already started helping the passengers. But for areas such as Pokhariput, the civic authorities have not yet planned a single rest shed.”

Municipal commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra said: “The model rest sheds will be made available along all city bus routes in a phase-wise manner.”

The commissioner also said that while the conditions in case of execution of the rest sheds for buses have specific reference to the use of the corporation logo in the advertising space available, in many cases, no such logo is noticed.

Regarding the collection of licensing fee, a senior official said: “There are some prominent places which could earn better advertising revenue for the agencies, but for a place such as Bhimatangi or Dumduma, the tariff could be low. So, we have to keep a range. Accordingly, we can fix the licensing fee.”