The Baramunda or New bus-stand came into being on January 26, 1992, after being shifted from the old location of AG Square. The idea was to make it a world class terminus, spread over an area of 14.15 acres of land and equipped with best possible facilities for passengers. However, though decades have passed, the plan is yet to see the light of the day.
The bus-stand, which is the second largest in the state and the largest in the capital, has been struggling with multiple problems since long.
POOR CLEANLINESS AND HYGIENE:
When MCL visited the bus-stand, we found a heap of garbage greeting us at the entrance. In fact, the bus-stand can be called anything but clean, not to forget the stink emanating from the garbage scattered all around. Pot-holes too are a common sight and at monsoon, the situation reaches at its worst.
One of the reasons why the bus-stand presents a dirty picture is because all the establishments at the bus-stand dump their garbage within the compound. Though the government has given lease to some limited shops and hotels to do their business, there are many unauthorized outlets in the bus-stand which have made it congested.
Lind Willum, a lady from Russia whom we met at the bus-stand told us that the bus terminal in the capital was one of the biggest disappointments for her. “I have come to Bhubaneswar for some research work on temple culture. I plan to travel to Puri too. Although Bhubaneswar is a beautiful city, places like this can act as a mood spoiler. This is the main bus-stand of the capital but it is badly maintained and not clean at all,” she rued.
LACK OF BASIC FACILITIES:
Cleanliness isn’t the only concern for passengers. Lack of waiting rooms, lavatories and poor security are few of the other issues that plague the bus-stand. There is only one waiting room in the bus-stand, meant for ladies. There are two toilets and one washroom inside the waiting room which aren’t enough considering the large number of female passengers who visit the bus-stand on a daily basis.
Female passengers aren’t the only ones complaining. There is no toilet for men nor is there a waiting room for them. There is also no facility for drinking water in the bus-stand nor is there any proper arrangement for two-wheeler parking. Traffic jam caused due to erratic entry and exit of buses is yet another problem the bus-stand faces every day.
One of the biggest concerns for passengers, particularly ladies, at Baramunda bus-stand is lack of security. The bus-stand turns into an ‘adda’ for anti-socials and since most of the areas nearby do not have street lights, the entire area gets submerged in darkness which aids miscreants. From pick pocketing to chain snatching, an increasing number of such cases are regularly reported from the bus-stand.
When MCL caught up with the IIC of the only police outpost in the campus, Nagesh Rout, he informed us that for the security of female passengers, there are four lady constables engaged 24×7 as per their work shift. Here, we hardly receive any report on big crimes. Yes, 10-15 minor cases are reported every month like theft and pick pocketing, but we immediately forward them to Khandagiri Police Station as this outpost comes under their jurisdiction.” he claimed.
RENOVATION PLAN GONE AWRY:
On 16th April 2015, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for a modern and renovated bus stand that would include features such as a terminal building with parking bays, shopping and information kiosks, air-conditioned waiting rooms, e-ticketing and smart card system for fare collection, a commercial hub, a movie multiplex and a shopping mall. The project with an estimated cost of Rs. 300 crores would have benefited about 600 private buses and 60 government buses on completion.
Although more than two years have passed, no work has started yet. Even the foundation stone has disappeared. Still waiting to be a world class terminus!