The Telegraph
Thursday , November 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bus depot on revamp mode

The beleaguered interstate bus terminus in Khadgarha may, finally, hope for a facelift with the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) launching an agency hunt to renovate and refurbish the place.

The civic body floated tenders for the capital’s oldest bus stand, sprawling over 18 acres, last week. Those interested had been asked to apply by Wednesday so that the bids could be opened on Friday.

Located in Kantatoli —the gateway to the state capital — the Khadgarha bus stand has offered little to passengers in the past decade except for a transport lifeline choking on garbage and muck. The terminus is also sorely devoid of basic amenities such as proper toilets and drinking water kiosks. The ambience is so repulsive that long-distance buses prefer to pick up and drop passengers on the road, creating regular traffic snarls.

But, all this is expected to change if the RMC succeeds in finding a suitable partner for what is being touted as a “model terminus in the making”.

Public relations officer Naresh Sinha said around Rs 10 crore had been earmarked for the makeover, sanctioned under the 13th Finance Commission. “After the Khadgarha bus stand gets a facelift, we will take up renovation of the ITI depot, for which around Rs 2 crore has been allocated,” he said.

Also known as Birsa Munda Bus Stand, the Khadgarha terminus connects Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur, Chaibasa, Dhanbad, Patna, Calcutta and Bhubaneswar with Ranchi. The ITI depot, on the other hand, offers bus links to Palamau, Gumla, Latehar and other districts.

Detailed project reports (DPRs) for the terminuses have been prepared by architects Chadda & Associates. “According to the plan, the terminuses will boast bus bays, waiting lounges, food courts, pure drinking water and sound drainage among other facilities,” Sinha claimed.

Interestingly, the Khadgarha revamp has remained a non-starter for a decade owing to funds crunch, red tape and clash of interests among officials of the Ranchi Regional Development Authority (RRDA), which once monitored the services there.

Jharkhand’s first chief minister Babulal Marandi had laid the foundation for revamp of the Khadgarha bus stand in 2001-02, but that was about it. Four years later, fresh attempts were made by then urban development minister Raghubar Das, but the enthusiasm was short-lived.