SRINAGAR: Much to the inconvenience of commuters, the two bus terminals of Parimpora and Pantha-Chowk lack basic facilities as required under law for establishing such facilities.
These bus terminals lack proper lavatory blocks, drinking water facilities and restrooms much to the suffering of thousands of daily commuters of different districts.
As per the Motor Vehicle Act, 1998, a bus terminal must have a waiting room for the passengers, lavatory blocks, ticketing counters, cloakrooms and food courts. For vehicle owners there should be adequate workshops, servicing centres, pollution check control centres and restroom for drivers,” the Act reads.
However, the transporters at Parimpora and Pantha-chowk told Kashmir Reader that there is no such facility available for the passengers as well as the vehicle owners.
The general bus stand of Batamaloo was last year shifted to Parimpora after 57 kanals of the truck terminal of Fruit Mandi was acquired by Srinagar Development Authority for setting up new bus terminal.
Though the government last year in August had directed the Srinagar Development Authority and Public Health Engineering and Srinagar Municipal Corporation to provide basic facilities to the Parimpora bus terminal within 15 days, however no such facilities were set up in the terminal.
“The terminal is congested. It has no sufficient parking space for accommodating thousands of Sumo cabs besides no office and washroom facilities for transporters. We have setup our office in open,” President Sumo association bay-4, Mudasir Ahmed, at Parimpora bus terminal, said.
“This place was actually a truck terminal and was converted into bus stand. It does not even have a shape of a bus stand as there are no proper inlets and outlets,” Mudasir added.
“The modernized look of a bus terminal has at least a distance of 1 km between two different stands and here everything is in a haphazard manner,” Mudasir rued.
Mohd Ashraf, a commuter from Kupwara has his own tale of miseries to tell, he said: “I had to take my wife for the medical checkup to Rainawari hospital. It was cumbersome; we have to board two more buses to reach hospital. It took me much time to get into right bus,” Ashraf added.
“The general bus stand is the airport of the middle and lower sections of the society but the government has failed to provide even the basic amenities,” said Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, General Secretary Kashmir Motor Drivers Association (KMDA).
“There is no proper drinking water facility and no arrangements for lavatories. Two toilets have been constructed in a general bus terminal covering an area of 57 kanals and that too far away from the main site. The commuters usually from far-flung areas are often seen here defecating in the open behind the buses. There is no proper sanitation and cleanliness, as a result, there is a stinking smell all around the yard. There are no proper lighting arrangements at night,” Bhat told Kashmir Reader.
“Kashmir Motor Drivers Association owns around 160 buses, western bus service owns more than 500, minibuses are around 1500 and sumos are around 300 and all of them have been clubbed here together, as a result, this bus terminal has become a total mess” Bhat added
As the Parimpora bus terminal is congested the scene at Pantha-chowk bus terminal is totally opposite- it looks deserted- out of around 200 buses only 20 are operational.
General Secretary Kashmir Motor Drivers Association, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat told Kashmir Reader, “The bus terminal at Pantha-chowk is virtually defunct. The bus terminal is used by the truckers to park their vehicles.”
“Drinking water facility is not available here. The lack of macadamization has turned the yard into a dust bowl,” said Nazir Ahmed, a driver at the Pantha-chowk bus stand.
“The toilets here run out of the water and the government has provided us good lighting facilities but they operate it only during yatra. The passenger shed here is not in a good condition. The public park inside the yard is also not in a good condition. There is no proper fencing around the yard,” Nazir added.
Ahmed also said that rail service is the reason for the low passenger flow at the terminal.
A senior official of Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) wishing anonymity told Kashmir Reader that they are working on the development of both the bus terminals.
“We are going to grant additional 25 kanals of land to Parimpora bus terminal and the facilities which are lacking will be provided soon. A drain in the Pantha-chowk bus terminal will get completed till 2020 and then other facilities will also be provided soon. We also constructed separate inlet and outlet for Pantha-Chowk bus terminal recently and soon every facility will be provided,” he said.
Officials of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) also said that sanitation work at the bus terminal is the domain of Srinagar Development Authority.
“When the general bus stand was in Batamaloo, Srinagar Development Authority had engaged eight sweepers for sanitation purposes there and it is again their duty only,” he said.