The proposed High Capacity Bus System (HCBS) might be expected to ensure a smooth ride for commuters, but the project seems to be perpetually on bumpy roads. Days after the corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate was launched, HCBS has run into yet another trouble: encroachments on its path near the origin of the route.
"There are several stretches between Ambedkar Nagar and Chiragh Delhi where encroachments on roads is rampant. We are finding it difficult to get them vacated," said an official of the Transport Department on condition of anonymity.
Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf said the department has issued a notice requesting people to move out of the HCBS corridor. "Every new project faces some teething trouble and this would be resolved," said the minister.
But the question is by when? HCBS project has already been delayed by three years following a number of objections raised by various departments and agencies. Although the funds for the project were sanctioned a long ago, it was only on October 4 that the formal inauguration took place. The big buses have been bought and are either running on the city routes or lying idle at the Delhi Transport Corporation bus depots.
The 14.3 km of the first corridor is scheduled to be completed by March 2008 and will cost Rs 150.15 crore. "The success of the other corridors depends on how the first corridor shapes up," said an official. He admitted that encroachments have upset the plans a bit.
Narrow width of road in some stretches is another problem the officials face. HCBS envisages reorganising the road surface to create two central reserved lanes for buses, two lanes each way for other vehicular traffic, a dedicated lane for bicycles and a footpath for pedestrians on either side. The work involves replacement of storm-water drains, traffic signals, road signages, street furniture and street lighting.
"In certain areas, such as Sundar Nagar and the traffic junction at Moolchand, there is hardly any scope to make changes. We may have to take up a bit of the service lane in some areas," the official added.
HCBS is being introduced for the first time in India.