Union food processing industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal laid the foundation stone of the new interstate bus terminus (ISBT) last week, but the present bus stand on the Mansa road has been lying in shambles virtually crying for attention for the past several years.
The stink welcomes you as soon you enter the premises. The authorities had demolished the toilets on the left side of the entry gate for buses, but the open area is still being used by the people to urinate. Besides this, two other temporary bathrooms in open are a major cause of stink, while the bathroom inside the bus stand building itself is in dire need of repair. In addition to this, the potholes in the bus stand are a major cause of nuisance. The garbage dumps and grazing stray cattle on it tell about the poor condition of the bus stand.
A rickshaw-puller Hari Singh said that the people urinate in open as the bus stand authorities have pathetically failed to provide proper place for this. “Many times passengers, especially women, alight from buses right in front of the place and have to face the embarrassment when they see somebody urinating in the open,” he said.
Expressing disgust at the situation of the bus stand, Kulwant Singh, a manager of a private bus firm, said that cleanliness has been a casualty here for the past many years and now the authorities have become more careless. “The construction of the new bus stand will take time. Till then the authorities must pay heed to the upkeep of this bus stand. Leave aside the infrastructure, at least cleanliness must be ensured. What is the fun of having a bus stand if we can’t provide basic amenities to transporters and people,” he said.
Surprisingly, the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) is earning Rs 20,700 adda (bus stand) fee daily from private bus transporters, while lakhs are earned through rented commercial establishments every month.
Convener of the Malwa Zone Bus Operators’ Association, Bathinda zone, Baltej Singh, said that they have raised the issue with the administration and even threatened to stop paying adda fee as the PRTC is supposed to spend the fee on maintenance of the bus stand. “We organise akhand path every year in January inside the bus stand. Last year, we spent Rs 25, 000 for cleaning the bus stand for the religious event. This time, we will meet the Bathinda deputy commissioner and apprise him of the situation of the bus stand and tell him that if the situation is not improved, we wouldn’t pay the adda fee for the days we will hold the path and spend the amount on the cleanliness of the bus stand,” he said.
Denying the lack of cleanliness and civic amenities at the bus stand, general manager, PRTC, Bathinda depot, Harbans Singh Khera, said that the work of cleanliness has been outsourced to Sulabh International and they do their work daily. He, however, said that the PRTC has requested people time and again not to urinate in open spaces, but in vain.