The ASTC bus stand at Khanapara. Picture by Eastern Projections
Nov. 30: Dispur has decided to remove the bus stand of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) from Khanapara to ease the traffic chaos on G.S. Road and the highway bypass in the area.
An official source said the decision was taken at a recent meeting chaired by chief secretary P.C. Sarma at the capital complex.
In the meeting it was decided that the bus stand at Khanapara will be withdrawn with effect from December 1. Accordingly, necessary directions have been given to the transport department, ASTC, city police and the district administration to strictly enforce the order from tomorrow, the source said.
The Khanapara bus stand is close to the official residence of chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
Located near the traffic intersection at Khanapara, it gained prominence after all the long-distance buses were shifted from Paltan Bazar to the Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Betkuchi from July 15 this year.
When the ISBT was made fully functional, the government prohibited the entry of long-distance buses into the inner cordon of the city in a bid to decongest the arterial roads. But since the ISBT at Betkuchi is poorly connected, a majority of passengers travelling to various parts of Upper Assam and other parts of the Northeast prefer the ASTC stand at Khanapara, the source said.
If one has to travel from any of the prime areas of the city, such as Paltan Bazar, Panbazar or Fancy Bazar, where most of the hotels and lodges are located, it will take less time to reach Khanapara than the ISBT, he said.
But the Khanapara bus stand, along with the ongoing construction of a flyover by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), are now being held responsible for traffic congestion in the area.
Everyday nearly 700 buses entering or leaving the city stop at Khanapara, creating huge snarls.
The chaos is multiplied by the numerous shops and eateries that also come up near the bus stand.
The source said the government wants to clear the mess because of fear that terrorists might take the advantage of the situation to carry out strikes there.
He said the traffic police and Kamrup (metro) administration have been asked by the government to ensure that buses do not stop at Khanapara from tomorrow.