| The pothole-dotted entrance to Baramunda bus stand. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, July 18: The state’s biggest bus terminal — Baramunda — is plagued with a plethora of problems.
While the entire terminal is full of potholes and ditches, the exit road is uneven and difficult to negotiate. To add to it all, the terminal is dotted with garbage dumps.
The bus stand, which caters to the needs of passengers from all over the state, manages 550 buses on a daily basis, while about 300 to 350 light vehicles such as cars and auto-rickshaws come to the terminal every day.
“Baramunda is the face of the present status of road transport mechanism in the state. Being located in the state capital, it should have got all the attention. But, it seems that the transport department and the civic administration do not like to pay any attention to it,’’ said R.C. Patnaik, a native of Chattrapur, who visits the city regularly.
General secretary of Bhubaneswar Bus Owners’ Association Barada Acharya said: “The terminal floor has not been repaired in the last two decades. While a waiting hall for female passengers is under construction, absence of usable toilets and water kiosks is causing hardship for the passengers.”
Acharya further said that issues such as absence of lights and security guards at night and dumping of garbage here and there should be addressed by the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC). However, OSRTC general manager Prasanna Kumar Sarangi said: “The state government has kept aside Rs 1.5 crore for the repair and maintenance of the Baramunda bus terminal.’’
He said that steps would be taken to ensure security arrangements within a month while the garbage issue would also be taken up with the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“Yesterday, the BMC officials had a meeting with us where it was concluded that they would clean the campus. A garbage bin will also be placed near our terminal manager’s office. We are going to sign a contract for monthly cleaning service,’’ he added.
In another development, the public works department (PWD) has recently completed construction of a road at the entrance to the bus stand.
“We have handed over the two roads, which were earlier maintained by us, to the PWD last year. While one road was completed last month, work on the other will start shortly,’’ said BMC executive engineer R.N. Mallik.
However, a member of the bus owners’ association said that encroachment on the approach roads and inside the bus terminal was also a big issue. BMC assistant commissioner (enforcement) Sumita Behera said: “If we get specific complaints from an appropriate authority (on encroachments), we will definitely take action.’’ Sources said in future there was a plan to have a modern bus terminal at Baramunda with an investment of about Rs 150 crore. “The project will start along with two other bus terminals, one at Gopalpur near Cuttack and the other at Malatideipur near Puri. While the last one is being done on high priority basis because of the Nabakalebara festival which is due next year, the Baramunda project may be a little late. A project management unit has been formed to look into the issues,’’ said a senior official of the transport department.