Travelling around Salt Lake has always been an arduous task for its residents, with no bus connecting one end of the sprawling township with another.
Now, the long-standing transport problem could finally take a turn for the better.
Bidhannagar Municipality has submitted detailed maps of the circular bus routes to the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) last week. “The RTA wrote to us, requesting the route alignment to be prepared for the circular buses, which we have submitted,” confirmed Ashim Guha, convener of the municipality’s transport committee.
Rathindra Kumar Chakraborty, RTA Calcutta deputy chairman, said the proposal will be tabled during the next board meeting and buses will soon start plying on the proposed routes.
“Salt Lake residents face a major problem commuting from one point to another as there is no route covering all corners of the township. To address this problem, we have decided to introduce the circular routes,” said Chakraborty.
As per the plans, two routes, with 10 buses each, will be introduced, said Guha. Buses from one route will start from the AJ Block bus terminus, touch Baisakhi island, Purta Bhavan, Bidhannagar State General Hospital, CC and CA islands, the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, Ultadanga, Kankurgachhi and Bengal Chemical. It will re-enter Salt Lake in front of Yuba Bharati Krirangan gate number one, stop at Tank no. 13, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Labony island, Poura Bhavan, Karunamoyee and Tank no. 10 before terminating at GD bus stop.
Another bus, starting from AJ Block terminus, will go via Baisakhi island, Mayukh Bhavan, Karunamoyee, Poura Bhavan, Labony island, Tank no. 13, Bijan Bhavan, GD island, Susrut Eye Hospital, IC park, KB-KC Block, Tank no. 16, Suraksha Hospital to the Bypass. After touching Phoolbagan, Beleghata and the CIT Road crossing, it will enter Salt Lake via Sukantanagar, Nicco Park, SDF Building in Sector V, CSTC bus depot and Tank no. 10, before terminating at GD island.
“These routes will comprehensively cover the township and solve the transport problem,” assured Guha.
Municipality sources said the proposal for the circular bus routes had been mooted earlier. The RTA and the state government had proposed that the municipality run the circular buses. The municipality, however, had not agreed to take up the responsibility and so the plan was shelved. This time around, it has been decided that the RTA will issue permits to private operators.
Officials said luxury minibuses will also hit the Salt Lake streets soon. “The details will be worked out this week,” said a municipality official, adding that 25 buses would run on five routes.
“These buses will connect Salt Lake City with major hospitals, amusement parks and other important points in Calcutta and will have limited stops,” explained the official. “The fares will be higher than on ordinary buses. If the routes prove viable, the number of vehicles will be increased.”