SHOPIAN: Despite spending over five crores on the construction of a bus stand at Batpora area in Shopian, seven cab stands in Shopian are operational either from the roadsides or kilometres away from the main town.
The seven cab stands which operate in different parts of the town have created immense problems both for the general public and for the government itself since the authorities have no space to provide for vehicle parking. Insiders from the Municipal Committee Shopian told Kashmir Reader that over Rs5 crore were spent on the construction of a new bus stand over a huge area, but the district administration, including the transport department, had failed to make it operational.
The cab stand operating at Bonbazar, which is almost one kilometre from town, creates lots of problems for the public in general and for students and office goers in particular as they have to walk more than a mile or two daily to reach their respective destinations. Similarly, the cab stand at Sangloo Bridge runs its operations in the middle of the road, resulting in frequent traffic jams which last for hours. The cab stand near Four-way Chowk is also operating services on the main road, resulting in traffic jams with no space left for car parking. The cab stand near Goal Chowk too is functioning on the road, which also results in frequent heavy traffic jams because of the rush in the market.
About a decade has passed since the bus stand at Batpora was completed, yet the government is unmoved. Mushtaq Ahmad, an office goer, said that they were forced to walk two kilometres daily to reach office because the cab stand at Bonbazar is not providing services to the main market.
Town resident Abid Saki said that having cab stands on the roads has given rise to the culture that now even those having private vehicles also park their vehicles on roads, adding to the rising mess in Shopian. “By doing these things, a common man gets most affected because there remains no space for even pedestrians,” he said.
A group of locals said that some shopkeeper associations and shopkeepers are in league with officials who don’t want to get these stands shifter.
An officer from the transport department admitted that there is no traffic rush as such in Shopian, but mismanagement has led to the traffic jams and no space for car parking. “We are looking in this issue and I hope it will be resolved very soon,” he said.
Assistant Regional Transport Officer Shopian Samrinder Singh Jamwal told Kashmir Reader that he was new in office and the department is looking to make Batpora bus stand operational. “There is an issue of enforcement because it didn’t work. We have a meeting regarding this issue with Deputy Commissioner; now we will call all cab presidents and operators and will take them into confidence,” he said.
Executive Officer Municipal Committee Shopian Imtiyaz Ahmad said that “It is an irony that despite spending more than five crores on the bus stand, it is lying dysfunctional. We should have used the space where they presently operate the stands as parking lots, and the issue would have been solved.” He added that the office had conducted several meetings with the Deputy Commissioner Shopian and the transport department, but the issue was not solved.
Deputy Commissioner Shopian Owais Ahmad told Kashmir Reader that the Batpora bus stand will be made operational very soon. “We had a meeting in this regard, and soon all cab stands will be shifted to Batpora,” he assured.
The Municipal Committee Executive Officer added that once the small cab stands are shifted to Batpora, they will develop those spaces as parking lots.