Having missed one deadline after another in the past five years, the SAS Nagar inter-state bus terminus (ISBT), also known as Mohali junction, will finally be inaugurated in the first week of December, with the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) completing formalities to take possession of the newly built Rs 500-crore facility.
Once inaugurated, the old bus stand at Phase 8, SAS Nagar, will be closed and the operations will be shifted to the new terminal (at Phase 6) where 1,900 buses will pass daily with the facility of night halt for 95 buses.
The terminal — spread over 6.6-acres of land adjacent to Verka Chowk on the National Highway-21 — will improve connectivity of the tricity area to northern Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The authorities, however, did not commit any specific date of inauguration which is likely to be done by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal.
Punjab transport commissioner Harmail Singh Sra said, “All buses entering SAS Nagar, including those going to Chandigarh, will pass through the new ISBT. As many as 1,900 buses will pass through the terminal daily.”
Only 500 buses entered the Phase-8 bus stand in SAS Nagar.
Initially, all buses went to the Phase-8 bus stand but the practice was stopped owing to non-availability of facilities for passengers and bus operators.
The facility — the region’s first air-conditioned ISBT which was to start operations in October 2011 and has missed six deadlines so far — will be made operational in phases. In the first phase, the bus stand will be made operational. As part of phase 2, retail outlets and a 10-screen multiplex in tower-A of the complex will be made operational by June next year while in Phase 3, towers-B and -C will be completed by 2018-end.
The facility has been named after the Sikh general, Baba Banda Singh, who is credited with defeating Wazir Khan, the Mughal nawab of Sirhind, leading to the establishment of the first Sikh kingdom in 1711. Banda’s statue has been built at the entrance.
The authorities were preparing to inaugurate it on November 24 and even held a meeting in this regard on Monday, but the same was deferred. C&C Constructions Limited, a Delhi-based company, has executed the project under the public private partnership (PPP) mode. The work on the project started in April 2009. With the Punjab assembly elections nearing (likely in early 2017), the state-of-the-art facility is likely to be projected as an achievement of the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janta Party government. “The project will be inaugurated in the first week. The ISBT part will be made operational as of now,” said Varun Roojam, chief administrator, GMADA.