A visit to the SAS Nagar bus stand in Phase 8 is a punishment in itself. The road to the bus stand is riddled with potholes and littered. The apathy towards public spaces is evident as one heads inside. Filth, stinking toilets and the strong stench make it difficult to stand there forget waiting for a bus.
The HT team likened the experience to that of standing in a garbage dump. Here, it’s not just the commuters who are to blame. The staff, including bus drivers and conductors, merrily goes about washing the buses and even bathing at the lone hand pump behind the bus stand. The slush has made matters worse. It’s as though no one has heard of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan here. People caught littering blamed the authorities for the inadequate number of dustbins, saying they did not feel guilty throwing waste at a place that was already so filthy. Dustbins were difficult to find, while those in place were worn out and beyond use.
The toilets were in a mess with the stench enough to put off most commuters. The bravehearts who ventured in found the toilet seats broken, taps either without water or not in a working condition.
Apart from the litter strewn all around, heaps of garbage were visible at several places. Old bottles and scrap material were seen collected at secluded spots. The cement benches at the bus stand didn’t seem to have been cleaned in ages, while shops and eateries in the vicinity were just as filthy.
When contacted, Chander Shekhar, the contractor at the bus stand, said, “I can’t do anything about the mess as I get no help. I have made requests to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority. They are probably in awe of the upcoming bus stand and have forgotten us.”
While vehicle registration plates are also fixed on the premises, the RTO office also operates behind the bus stand.
“This bus stand sees a footfall of 1,000 people daily. How do we manage their mess? I have no resources and no powers to maintain this place. No officer ever visits the bus stand. It’s like a step child for the administration,” he added.