BHUBANESWAR: The grand Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) project at Bhubaneswar’s Baramunda missed its deadline, again. Planned to be completed by June this year, it has been grappling with issues related to encroachment and moving bus owners as well as vendors. A crucial legal issue pertaining to a private lodge was sorted recently. All of these could, finally, push the progress of the high-profile project. The Bridge and Roof Company India Limited, a Central Government undertaking, was awarded the project with a bid offer of `160.6 crores.
After Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the project in December 2020, the State government announced the ISBT will be ready within 18 months to become a landmark in the Capital. Out of the 46,474 sq m area, the terminal space will occupy 12,241 sq m while commercial space will be around 15,884 sq m. The entire project is planned on 15.5 acre.
Progress So Far
Sources point out that out of 28,125 sq m of work, structural work has been completed on around 20,000 sq m. The project expenditure, though, is barely about 40 per cent by now. The entire terminal and commercial structure has been divided into six blocks. Work on the first four blocks on a G+2 structure is complete and the remaining two blocks with B+G+2 design are in progress.
However, a number of works are yet to start. The government has planned 35 bus bays and 190 idle parking spaces as well as a public parking lot for more than 250 four-wheelers and 175 two-wheelers at the ISBT. Construction work of the facade, bus bays, and a sewage treatment plant is yet to begin while BDA struggled with the acquisition of 4-acre land but managed eventually.
The existing OSRTC building on around 1-acre land, adjacent to the terminal structure, remained partially demolished due to a legal dispute between the corporation and a lodge in which the latter had got a stay order from the Orissa High Court.
Vice Chairman of Bhubaneswar Development Corporation Sanjay Kumar Singh said the brown-field project required a number of bottlenecks to be removed for implementation. “The major hurdle was to negotiate with bus owners to shift from the existing bus stand to a transit stop. This required a lot of time as a temporary parking area was needed to be created with required facilities,” he said.
Rehabilitation of vendors was another major issue. As it was an OSRTC bus stand, a number of vendors needed to be shifted and convincing them took time. “The stay order on removal of a lodge at the old OSRTC structure was vacated only recently by the High Court. As per the court order, the lodge owner now has to vacate the place within a month. We are hopeful it will be done by the end of this month after which acquiring land for the project will not be a problem,” the BDA VC said.
While the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 was a major hindrance to the project, it faced hurdles in the finalisation of design, eviction of encroachment and acquisition of land. OSRTC MD Diptesh Kumar Pattnayak said the corporation had handed over the land, required for ISBT, to BDA by 2021 but the lodge remained a problem. The project was conceptualised in 2017. The BDA floated a tender for architectural and urban design the same year in July and Delhi-based Integrated Multimodal Transit System Limited won the bid the next month. In 2018, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the bus stand will get a grand makeover as the best-in-class ISBT by April 2019.
It, however, remained a mere announcement till it received a nod from the State Cabinet on September 26, 2019. Construction work for the terminal started the same year after an agreement between the BDA and Bridge and Roof. However, the work was hampered for over six months in 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic had its own impact, there were also lapses on part of Bridge and Roof which delayed the project implementation. “The company was issued a show-cause, while I spoke to the CMD and now we are given a schedule to complete the work by December 2022,” Singh said.“The positive achievement is that we have been able to shift the bus stand to the temporary parking area amicably. Relocation of vendors and removal of encroachments were also done smoothly and expect the project work will now continue smoothly,” he said.
■ 2017 - Project was conceptualised
■ 2018 - CM announced the project
■ April 2019 - Initial completion deadline
■ Sept 26, 2019 - Project gets State Cabinet approval
35 bus bays, 190 idle parking spaces as well a public parking lot for more than 250 four-wheelers and 175 two-wheelers
Negotiating with bus owners to shift to a transit stop
Rehabilitation of vendors
Covid-19 delay of two years
Delay in design, eviction of encroachment, land acquisition