City Beautiful has two inter-state bus terminuses and the irony is that the busier one in Sector 43 is cleaner. The older of the two in Sector 17 was in a shabby state when the Hindustan Times team visited it this weekend. Heaps of garbage, stinking urinals, malba (construction waste) lying unattended and leaking pipes are what a commuter has to face before making it to a bus. Even counters that sell tickets were littered to an extent that they resembled garbage dumps.
For the record, the Sector 17 bus terminus houses the office of the Chandigarh municipal corporation public health department’s division number 4 besides those of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (Citco) and tourism offices of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh,Uttarakhand and Delhi!
Exactly a month ago, delegates of the ninth International Youth Peace Fest led by ‘American Gandhi’ Bernie Meyer conducted a cleanliness drive to mark Gandhi Jayanti at the Sector 17 terminus. It doesn’t seem anyone bothered after that.
Blame game begins
Satnam Singh, an auto driver in his forties who has been operating from the Sector 17 bus stand for the past two decades, was quick to tell the HT team that sweepers clean up the bus stand only once a week or sometimes once in a fortnight. “This area stinks,” he confirms. Asked if he had taken any initiative to keep the surroundings clean, he said, “I have made repeated complaints but nothing changes.”
This was the refrain with commuters and staff alike. Cleaning up, it seems, still is somebody else’s job.
When contacted, Malkit Singh, the bus stand in-charge at Sector 17, said: “The agency that has been allotted the sanitation job is not serious about its work. We have to pull them up every time to get work done. As for the garbage heap behind the terminus, the parking contractor is responsible for its maintenance but he left work last month.” Perhaps the hollow ring to his excuses forced him to conclude with an assurance: “I can promise you that the area will be cleaned within two days.”
Sulabh International, a social service organisation, has been given the charge of maintaining the sanitation at both the Sector 17 and 43 terminuses around two years back. Twenty sweepers are deployed at the Sector 17 bus stand, while 38 clean up your act at Sector 43. Rajeshwar Prashad Singh of Sulabh International in Sector 17 said, “We try our best to keep the terminus clean, but sometimes it gets difficult, particularly when our employees go on leave.”
When confronted with photos of garbage at the terminus, he said, “Oh! It’s been windy of late, hasn’t it? That must have been after the storm.” The storm must have occurred several months ago for the area hasn’t been cleaned in recent memory.
Lack of civic sense
Akshay Kumar, who is in charge of sanitation at the Sector 43 bus terminus, claimed that the area was cleaned every hour but the heavy footfall and lack of civic sense among commuters and staff negates their effort. “We have put up dustbins at small intervals but many still litter the area. Some throw waste right outside the bin rather than in it,” he complained.
Though the Sector 43 bus terminus was free of garbage heaps, hundreds of disposable glasses and plates were seen lying around the bus stand.
Tomorrow: Government hospitals in tricity