VIJAYAWADA: In 2004, the then chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy inaugurated amid much fanfare the Truck Terminal at Ibrahimpatnam constructed at a cost of Rs 16.5 crore in 77 acre land.
Today, after nearly 11 years, it remains vacant and in dire need of repairs, as internal roads lie ruined. Creepers and bushes have taken over the constructed space. The inaugural plaque lies ruined standing a mute witness to the neglect.
The project was intended to prevent heavy goods vehicles bound for Vijayawada from entering the city and allow the transport of cargo in smaller vehicles like mini trucks so there would not be pressure on city traffic.
After much planning and discussions, it finally took shape with hundreds of shops, offices, repairing garages, warehouses and open plots ready for occupancy. Several trading and goods transport companies have owned them, but seldom used them.
None of the companies commenced operations from there saying that goods transporters, who were supposed to shift to the truck terminal as agreed upon, refused to move out of the city.
Sources said that goods transporters had stayed put in the city with the help of political representatives who brought pressure on the government at that time . “The government had turned a blind eye to it for 10 years with pressure building up from within the ruling party. Crores of rupees spent on the project, intended for a good purpose, went down the drain,” a person associated with the project right from the inception said, not wishing to be named.
Further, no efforts were made to issue any notices to goods transporters to honour their agreement. “It is true that our government had not acted to make the project workable. It was due to some political pressure. I wholeheartedly hope that the situation will be remedied and the project revived,” Malladi Vishnu, former MLA and VUDA chairman told Express.
Recently, irrigation minister D Umamaheswara Rao inspected the site and sought reports from CRDA, erstwhile VUDA for revival of the Truck Terminal. But the question is: Has the situation changed? Are traders ready for the ambitious project?
“Initially it will receive a lot of resistance as many goods transporters would not be willing to move out of their comfort zone. It will be a tough task to convince ‘hamalis’, who load and unload the cargo. However, it is possible with coordinated efforts of all concerned,” AP Lorry Owners’ Association general secretary YV Eswara Rao said.
Rao, at a recent meeting with the police commissioner and other officials, extended his support and said it should be a coordinated effort.
There was resistance when commercial complexes were moved out of the city to Gollapudi on the outskirts. Same was the case with iron yard, he pointed out.