Even after seven months of sanctioning city service buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) for Shimoga and Bhadravati cities, no concrete action was taken by the district administration to implement the project, despite protests from various organisations.
According to the September 17, 2013 information, the Centre has sanctioned 65 buses for Shimoga and 35 buses for Bhadravati under the JnNURM project and sanctioned `18.5 crore and `10.15 crore respectively. After this, `7.54 crore for Shimoga and `4.6 crore for Bhadravati was released with a condition that the project should be implemented within two months after releasing the money.
According to the order, the district administration had to provide a bus terminal, depot and workshop for handling 100 buses. Even after seven months of sanctioning the project, the district administration has failed to identify the land required for the purpose.
When the district administration did not show interest in the project, some social activists and organisations started fighting for the project.
Since October, activist Kallur Megharaj of Shantaveri Gopala Gowda Study Centre Trust and Ashok Yadav of the Anna Hazare Horata Samiti have been putting pressure on the district administration and approached the Transport Minister, Urban Development Minister, Urban Development Authority state secretary T K Anil Kumar and the district administration, for the implementation of the project. They also identified the land for the bus terminal, workshop and depot and recommended this to the district administration, which directly rejected the proposal. But it has identified 8.9 acres at Sogane, which is 10 km away from the city. KSRTC officials who had inspected the land had rejected it as each bus would require `600 more of diesel to reach the city from the bus depot every day, and bus drivers, conductors and other workers would face problems due to this. The Deputy Commissioner has assured the activists of granting the permits. But until recently, the district administration has not taken any decision.
Speaking to Express, activist Ashok Yadav said the project will not happen and be taken back by the Centre if the district administration neglects it. "No elected representative has raised his voice against the delay in implementing the project. The district administration has been irresponsible regarding this issue," he said.
‘Govt Must Purchase Buses’
DC Vipul Bansal told Express that the state government has to purchase the buses and it has to call a tender for the purpose. “The district administration does not have any power in this regard. If the state government hands over the project after flaoting the tender, the district administration will initiate action. But without knowing this, some people and organisations have been creating confusion,” he said.
‘Project Already Approved’
District Minister Kimmane Rathnakar said the project was approved at a district-level meeting and recommended to the government as well. “The project will take off shortly. I will personally initiate the action to implement the project,” he said.