From May 1, no outstation buses from Delhi’s Bikaner House, Himachal Bhawan
In order to control pollution, the Delhi government has asked bus operators to shift their operations from Bikaner House, Himachal Bhawan to Sarai Kale Khan. Most of the outstation buses operating from these locations run on diesel.delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2018 10:27 IST
Delhi residents will not be able to board outstation buses from Bikaner House, Himachal Bhawan and the Chander Lok building in Mandi House starting May 1, according to senior officials in the state transport department. For decades, the three locations have been popular among travellers taking deluxe coaches to popular tourist destinations such as Jaipur, Ajmer, Shimla, Manali, Haridwar and Dehradun.
The Delhi government has asked all operators to shift their operations to Sarai Kale Khan interstate bus terminus following a Supreme Court order, the officials added.
“Rajasthan Roadways had got clear directions from the Supreme Court to stop bus operations at Bikaner House from May 1. Following this, Delhi’s transport department has asked bus operators at Himachal Bhawan and Chander Lok building to shift to the Sarai Kale Khan ISBT,” said KK Dahiya, special commissioner (transport).
The move is aimed at curbing pollution because most of the outstation buses operating from these locations run on diesel.
Dahiya said if bus operators do not comply with the order, the enforcement team will impound the buses, adding that the three locations cannot be classified as ‘bus stands’ because they are not notified by the Delhi Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation (DTIDC) Limited, which builds, operates and maintains ISBTs and bus terminals in the national Capital.
The most affected by this decision will be Bikaner House, from where at least 27 buses operate daily. Bus operations at the erstwhile residence of the Maharaja of Bikaner, which has recently been converted into an art and fine-dining space, start at 5.30am and end at midnight. Around 10 buses operate from Himachal Bhawan.
On March 30, the Supreme Court directed Rajasthan roadways to stop operating these buses from Bikaner House from May 1, 2018 in order to control pollution levels around the India Gate area.
“It is a good move that fuel guzzling and polluting buses are being moved out of the restricted zones like the one around India Gate. Besides, route rationalisation of inter-state buses is a good thing as buses take a lot of road space and their parallel routes only create more choke points,” said Sunil Dahiya, senior campaigner at Greenpeace, an NGO. He added that similar actions should be taken across Delhi.
An official of the Rajasthan State Transport Corporation (RSTC), who asked not to be named, said that it is in talks with the Delhi government to finalise the Sarai Kale Khan terminal for these buses.
Officials in Delhi transport department said shifting these buses at the Kashmere Gate or Anand Vihar ISBTs was not an option because the buses would then crisscross other inter-state bus routes, resulting in no reduction in polluting diesel-run buses.
“Buses coming from Ashram side or Dhaula Kuan have to culminate at Sarai Kale Khan, just as those coming from Uttar Pradesh need to stop at Anand Vihar only. This is a part of Delhi’s decongestion plan and anti-pollution drive. It is a practical move to ask buses from those destinations to terminate at Sarai Kale Khan,” said a transport department official.