Even though the government has spent Rs 2.86 crore on the construction of the new Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Narwal, its reluctance to make it fully operational is causing a loss to the exchequer and adding to the traffic congestion in Jammu.
The infrastructure at new ISBT completed a while ago and attempts to shift the general bus stand was also scuttled in the past due to the pressure created by the vested interests, including self-styled politicians. A concerted effort is needed from all the stakeholders, including civil administration, police, civic authorities and transport department to make the ISBT fully functional.
After becoming partially operational a fortnight ago, only 10 to 15 buses ferry from the ISBT daily.
"The place here is quite open and clean as compared to old the bus stand. The old bus stand is quite shabby and filled with filth. The authorities should build more facilities like eateries, bookstalls, etc. here," said Naresh Kumar a tourist from Ludhiana.
When asked about the general bus stand completely to the ISBT and making it fully functional, Jammu Development Authority (JDA) vice-chairman Satish Nehru said, "The JDA has ensured all the facilities at the new bus stand. Now it is up to the administration to make it fully functional and shift buses there".
Nehur further said the JDA had invited tenders for the construction of approach roads from the ISBT to main Narwal Chowk on the National Highway-1.
"The JDA has identified 100 more sites for building kiosks and other facilities for passengers. We have even asked the transport department that travel agents will be given priority while allotting the kiosks".
The government has also spent huge amount for the construction of another terminal in Khanpur, Nagotra. It is also lying inactive. "The JDA has spent around Rs 5 crore on that bus terminal, which was built to shift the buses from the Jammu bus stand. JDA's job was to build the necessary infrastructure there," the JDA vice-chairman said.
JDA official under whose supervision The ISBT was constructed informed, "Constructed at a cost of Rs 2.86 crore, ISBT Narwal has a total area of 72 kanals. The ISBT has a total parking facility for 166 vehicles out of which an ideal parking facility for 130 vehicles and active parking facility for 36 vehicles".
ISBT houses ticket counters, a wide passenger shed, drinking water facility, benches and public toilets.
Meanwhile, while chairing a meeting of the General Bus Stand Association, MP Madan Lal Sharma said that final decision to shift the bus stand to the ISBT will be taken after consultation with all the stakeholders.