By S Banerjee: Baramunda has the biggest bus stand in Bhubaneswar from where buses ply to a wide number of places. The area is huge but the ground on which it stands is at horrible condition at the present with a ramshackle office building, abject road condition as also overflowing filth and garbage strewn all around. In the midst of this hundreds of passengers alight daily to avail bus services. There is no parking facility inside the stand for any kind of vehicle.
Vehicles have to just make their own way through the winding lanes of buses and find their own parking space under very difficult condition, despite having dished out a parking fee at the entry! It is a complete farce and more like a donation to the OSRTC without any service. This Senior Correspondent of The News Insight had a harrowing time himself when his car got caught between buses near the OSRTC terminal building.
But meanwhile, the TNI has come to know that there is a plan in the pipeline for the renovation and modernization of the the Baramunda Bus stand. To uncover the whole truth the TNI team met a number of senior officials of the OSRTC as well as the State Transport and Commerce Department.
OSRTC Manager for Baramunda stand , M C Mohanty, honestly accepted all the maladies regarding the Stand when pointed out by the TNI but in answer only offered hope in future perfect tense. “There was a plan for a cleaning and sanitation drive under the Swachh Bharat campaign but it is yet to materialize. Let us see when it happens. Meanwhile there is a bigger plan for building a modern Bus stand at this very existing space but I know little about it except the fact that it is being planned. Maybe, the higher ups in the Department hold some knowledge about it”, he said to this Correspondent.
The General Manager of the OSRTC was tight lipped when the Senior Correspondent of the TNI approached him shed light on the plan. However, the Law Officer of the OSRTC, G.P.Jena, revealed that the plan for a modern Bus stand is a reality and it is in the offing. “The Bus stand will be temporarily shifted to a space near Khandagiri while the modern Bus stand is built in Baramunda at the very place where the present stand is operating. There was initially a plan to hand over the whole scheme for development to a private company , ARSS. But things didn’t work out with ARSS, particularly on the point of land requirement. ARSS demanded 2 acres of extra land adjoining to the present stand but the State Govt is not ready to provide the same. So it has been decided that the State Govt will build the new Stand on its own. It may take some time to build on part of the Government but it is now final that no private tender will be passed.”, revealed Jena.
An Additional Secretary in the Department of Transport and Commerce also revealed the same to the TNI, adding that although no fixed plan has been passed but still Rs1.5 crore has been earmarked for the mega project. “It will be totally an own endeavour of the State Govt . The plan is to build a modern Bus stand with 60 percent space reserved for buses and 40 percent space assigned to the Office and Commercial complex”, he said.
The TNI also spoke to the Minister, Transport and Commerce, Govt of Odisha, Ramesh Majhi. He acknowledged the fact that a plan is in the anvil to transform Baramunda as also some of the other important Bus stands across the state into modern stands. But Baramunda being the nerve centre of bus and passenger movement in the State, the State Govt will give first priority in developing the new Bus stand at Baramunda, disclosed Sri Majhi. But on his part he refused to divulge any more specifics saying that it is just on the table as a plan that has been finalised, but sanction and budgetary allocation is yet to be made to make the proposal see the light of the day.
Bhubaneswar is counted today as one of the fastest developing State capitals in India . However, the Baramunda Bus stand is one of its biggest eye sore. It is high time that the Bus stand needs a facelift and a touch of modernization. The plan in the offing for the same is welcome news.