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Bengal govt shy of reclaiming 5-acre Hyde Road plot to aid shift of Esplanade bus terminus

Kolkata Port Trust official confirms that the state now wants to return the land in lieu of the money it paid

The Plurals News Network | Published 19.09.23, 01:49 PM
Illegally parked trucks on the Kolkata Port Trust plot on Hyde Road

Illegally parked trucks on the Kolkata Port Trust plot on Hyde Road

The Plurals News Network

The West Bengal transport department is scouring for space in Kolkata to park hundreds of long-distance private buses once the Esplanade bus depot is closed down under judicial order. However, it has failed to utilise a 5-acre plot that Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) had leased out to the state nine years ago against payment.

A report recently prepared by a committee comprising senior state transport and police officials, set up under court order, pointed out that space was available to park only 400 long-distance private buses within the city, spread over four points in and around Howrah, once the Esplanade bus stand is vacated.


The number seems insufficient as nearly 550 long-distance private buses are now being parked at Esplanade apart from hundreds of intra-city buses.

The report, a copy of which is with The Plurals, however, observed that the total alternate parking number may be increased to 550 if unauthorised occupants can be evicted from one of the identified points.

“The area earmarked off Hyde Road is about 5.5km from Esplanade, and hence, the bus stand can easily be shifted there. I personally visited the place and found huge vacant land there apart from illegally parked goods vehicles,” said environmentalist petitioner Subhas Datta.

As the search for space continues, a senior KoPT official pointed out to The Plurals that in 2014, as requested by the then chief secretary Sanjay Mitra, Kolkata Port Trust had leased out around five acres of land to the state for 30 years for shifting the Esplanade bus depot. The state had even paid the transaction amount but unfortunately never took possession of that land. “The state, despite making the payment, never took possession of the land, and is now requesting us to take back the land and revert the payment,” added the KoPT official.

A senior transport department official admitted that the transport department could not get actual possession of the land as there were “illegal occupants and local politicians were supporting them”.

The Esplanade bus terminus

The Esplanade bus terminus

File photograph

In 2007, Calcutta High Court had ordered the shifting of the Esplanade bus terminus within six months. The order was passed in response to a petition filed by Datta mainly based on a report prepared by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) demanding the shift of the bus terminus from Esplanade as it was allegedly triggering air pollution surge in the zone, affecting Victoria Memorial Hall.

The state had moved the Supreme Court over the issue but the apex court upheld the high court verdict of shifting the Esplanade bus terminus in 2011 on the ground of both reducing environmental pollution and decongestion; without fixing any timeline.

“It is concluded that the number of long-distance private buses which could be parked at different locations (as per) actual available capacity (is) 400,” reads the report signed by senior transport department officials on August 31, 2023.

The report further points out that “one land parcel measuring about 1.5 acre …at Duke Road Howrah (where) about 150 long-distance buses can be parked … is under unauthorised occupation” of goods vehicles and shops and can only be used if the encroachments are removed.

Last updated on 19.09.23, 01:50 PM

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