| Taken for a ride: Garbage forms a repulsive backdrop for long-distance buses at Sitaramdera on Wednesday and (right) the water kiosk defunct for four years. (Bhola Prasad)
Homemaker Meena Devi (42), waiting to board an AC coach to Siwan in Bihar from Sitaramdera, got drenched in a sudden shower on Wednesday afternoon with just a ticket vendors umbrella for shelter
Sudhir Kisku, bound for Musabani, was thirsty in the morning. The poor farmer could not afford to fork out Rs 12 for a mineral water bottle. So, he scoured the entire terminus for a water tap, but in vain
Meena Devi and Kisku are not the lone sufferers. More than 30,000 passengers, who avail of the services of 400 buses to various destinations in Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal and Odisha every day from Kolhans biggest terminus, face the agonising dearth of basic amenities such as drinking water, separate toilets for men and women and a waiting hall.
The Sitaramdera terminus, which sprawls over 1.5 acres along the Sakchi-Mango road near Subernarekha second bridge, was built at a cost of Rs 1.2 crore in 1998. It became operational in the month of October the same year and Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) was entrusted with its overall maintenance.
Four years ago, the urban local body had taken the initiative to set up a community water kiosk, but it developed snags within five months of inauguration.
President of Jamshedpur Bus Owners Association Uday Sharma claimed they had written several times to successive special officers of JNAC and deputy commissioners of East Singhbhum for passenger amenities. But, we have only received verbal assurances, which were never complemented with action, he said.
People face a harrowing time every summer and monsoon in the absence of drinking water facilities and a waiting hall. If there are no amenities for passengers, you can well imagine what it is like for bus drivers and conductors, Sharma added, pointing out that the terminus had no permanent ticket counter. We have to do business from makeshift counters because there is no space earmarked for ticket kiosks.
Raj Kishore Singh, the owner of Kumar Abhay Travel Services, said that garbage and muck was a round-the-year problem.
Mounds of unmentionables cover a substantial portion of the terminus. They have been there for a year. The civic authorities have done precious little to clear the mess. We are worried that the garbage will lead to an outbreak of vector-borne diseases, he added.
Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee special officer R.N. Dwiwedi conceded that the terminus was a stinking mess without basic amenities. We will shortly outsource cleaning work, he promised.
A private agency will be entrusted with maintenance of hygiene on a daily basis. Jusco had installed the water taps, which are now defunct. We will sanction funds for reinstallation soon, he said.
For separate toilets and waiting hall, however, a sanction from the district administration will be required, he added.
East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande claimed that the condition of the bus terminus had never been brought to her notice. But now, we will assess the situation. We will see where a waiting hall can be constructed and drinking water taps installed, she said.
What other problems do you encounter at the terminus?
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