The state government on Monday told private bus operators that buses operating within Calcutta and its adjoining areas will not be allowed to terminate at Esplanade.
Buses will be allowed to pick up and drop passengers at Esplanade but the vehicles can’t be parked at the heart of the city.
At a meeting senior officials in the transport department held with private bus operators, the state government did not spell out any deadline for implementing the new system. Private operators
were told to submit their
views in writing before a deadline is prepared, senior officials said.
Calcutta High Court
had in 2007 ordered the shifting of the Esplanade bus terminus.
On Friday, the division bench of Justices Debangsu Basak and Shampa Sarkar of the high court had instructed the state authorities to inform the court about their plans for the development of Esplanade.
“We were informed about the new policy at the meeting and the transport department asked us to submit our views in writing at the earliest,” said Rahul Chatterjee of the Bus Minibus Samannay Samity, a body of private transporters.
“There are several things that will have to be factored in before implementing this system. To begin with, the routes will have to be realigned.”
Two types of private buses now terminate at the hub in Esplanade — ones that ply within the city and its adjoining areas and the long-distance ones. Transport department officials said on Monday the state government was scouting for space where a terminus for long-distance buses could be set up.
“Consulting agency RITES has been asked to conduct a study on whether a multi-tier parking facility for buses is feasible where the Esplanade bus terminus now stands,” said a senior official in the transport department. “Before firming up a permanent plan, the government wants to consider the views of all the stakeholders.”
This isn’t the first time that the state government is trying to engage in a dialogue for shifting the Esplanade bus terminus.
After the Supreme Court upheld two orders of Calcutta High Court on shifting the bus terminus from Esplanade in 2011, the transport department spent close to Rs 10.5 crore on building a bus terminus at Santragachhi in Howrah in 2015.
The majority of the private bus operators stayed away from the terminus saying Kona Expressway was not ready for the stupendous volume of buses.
They said the new terminus would be viable after a flyover was built over the expressway. Five years later, in March 2020, the transport department identified a three-acre plot in the port area in Kidderpore to set up a terminus.
The state government even paid Rs 10 crore to Calcutta Port Trust for “permissive possession” of the land.
But private bus operators refused to move. Most of them said that while the terminus at Santragachhi is about 10km from Esplanade, the one in Kidderpore is 12km away.