Address Concerns

Address Concerns

The administration is set to shift the General Bus Stand(GBS) from Batmaloo to the outskirts of the city to Parimpora. The premise appears to be to decongest the city and make traffic and transport management functionally smooth. Many people including transporters, shopkeepers, small business establishments, rediwallahs , among others- whose livelihoods depend on the ecosystem of the GBS, will be affected. It may be recalled that the GBS has been operational since 1978 and is the nerve centre of public transport in Srinagar city and even beyond. Quite obviously then, the administration has held it to be the Centre of Gravity of the transport system in the city. While the move to shift the GBS to Parimpora may or may not decongest the city and streamline its transportation system, the issue of providing an alternate ecosystem to those negatively affected remains. There has been some resistance by the affected stakeholders but, on the whole, they seem to be open to the shift if some of their genuine conditions are met. These include safeguards like steamlining vigorously the movement of cabs within and without the city precincts. This is a valid concern that must be addressed along with others. Another nagging issue is what the administration purports to do with the numerous canals of land that will be potentially vacated if and when the GBS is shifted. Given the location of the GBS, it will be a prime target for developers and even predators of assorted kinds. If, hypothetically speaking, the scores of land which will lie vacant after the GBS moves, is allotted to developers and/ or businesses, it will constitute a travesty. First, it will defeat the purpose of shifting the GBS by creating a potential business centre which will attract people and do zilch to prevent decongestion in the city. Second, it will alter the landscape of the city and render it noxious- functionally, practically and even aesthetically. Third is the fear of cronyism and nepotism which will ensue if the land is allotted for business development, adding another layer to the extant corruption in Kashmir. The need of the hour then is to provide a functional alternative to all those affected by the shifting of the GBS and address their valid and genuine concerns. And last but not the least, the land that will lie vacant after the shifting must on, ethical, prudential, practical, functional and aesthetic grounds must not be left to be exploited by predators, land sharks and other assorted groups of people and individuals who will for unsavoury and mercenary private gain exploit this piece of land.

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