KOCHI: Bus commuters in Kakkanad can beat the heat this Onam as the Ernakulam District Panchayat is all set to throw open the state’s first AC bus shelter to the public soon. The air-conditioned bus shelters which will be accompanied with the latest in-house technologies will be a relief to the public who have to sweat it out any time they have to board a bus from the spot.
The project has been completed in association with the District Cooperative bank.
Though the panchayat had allocated Rs 3 crore to set up an AC shelter in 25 main centres as part of the ‘Thanal’ project from its 2014 plan fund, the shortage of funds had slowed down the phase of the highly publicised project.
“The jinx associated with the project finally has broken and we have finalised our agreement with the District Cooperative bank. When we started the project, we did not have any documentation with us. However, we have now been able to clear all formalities. Only a few works are left and this will be completed within ten days. Currently, we are awaiting a date favourable for the minister and if that gets confirmed, we will present the bus shelter as an Onam gift,” said District Panchayat President Asha Sanil.
The project kicked off during Perumbavoor MLA Eldhose Kunnappilly’s tenure as district panchayat president. However, the new governing council failed to follow the project. As per the proposal, the air conditioned bus shelters will have facilities like ATM counters, newspaper, drinking water and accommodation facilities and can accomodate more than 15 passengers. The bus shelters will be covered with ‘aeon’ glass, and will have automatic doors.
“ Apart from these, we will also install a television set inside the bus shelter so that passengers can while away their time. A security will also be deployed for safety of the ATM,” the president added.
M K Radhakrishnan, GM, district cooperative bank said that the certain norms in the agreement delayed the project. “ Currently, only the ATM has to be installed and this will, hopefully be completed soon,” the GM said.
Meanwhile, the panchayat is yet to find a sponsor for extending the project to other locations. “ As per earlier plan, the project was formulated to generate revenue by letting the banks to operate ATM counters at the bus shelters. We hope to keep up to the plan and more number of AC shelters will become a reality,” the president said.