No funds to build new KSRTC stand in Ernakulam, says KB Ganesh Kumar

Will make do with temporary measures to resolve waterlogging, cleanliness issues at existing facility, says Ganesh
Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar and other officials inspect a waterlogged area at the KSRTC bus stand on Saturday
Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar and other officials inspect a waterlogged area at the KSRTC bus stand on Saturday Photo | A Sanesh

KOCHI: Construction of a new KSRTC bus stand is unlikely to take off with Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar stating that the government does not have the funds for a new facility. The minister, however, said stopgap measures would be adopted to deal with the issue of waterlogging at the current terminal in Karikkamuri. 

Following his visit to the Karikkamuri bus stand, Ganesh Kumar said, “The government does not have the funds to build a new stand. Temporary measures to deal with waterlogging and general upkeep will be taken. A group of IIT engineers will study the existing problems and suggest solutions,” the minister said after his evaluation on Saturday evening. 

Last year, various stakeholders had approved a new land-swap arrangement with Vyttila mobility hub. One part of the proposal, for which Cochin Smart Mission Ltd (CSML) allocated `12 crore, called for converting the existing stand into a facility that can be accessed by both private and KSRTC buses. 

As part of the plan, KSRTC would hand over four of the eight acres of its land at Karikkamuri to Vyttila Mobility Hub Society (VMHS), a special-purpose vehicle set up by the state government, which will oversee the development. And, this would be in lieu of three acres that VMHS will transfer for a new KSRTC bus stand next to its mobility hub in Vyttila. However, no progress has been made on the bus terminal near the existing KSRTC stand. 

The minister said that work could begin once a vigilance inquiry into the flawed construction of an existing building on the site is wrapped up. “We have given a letter to the chief minister seeking permission to demolish the structure,” he said.

The minister examines the interiors of the station as a stray dog lies under a bench
The minister examines the interiors of the station as a stray dog lies under a bench Photo | A Sanesh

"Moreover, the three acres allocated in Vyttila is a wetland, which will require crores to fill up. The government doesn’t have the funds for that,” said Ganesh Kumar. Therefore, the existing bus stand at Karikkamuri will be renovated and maintained. 

“The land will be raised, drains around the stand will be cleaned and a new drain will be constructed at the entrance to avoid water seeping in,” the minister said, adding that these measures are expected to resolve the waterlogging issue to an extent. He also said that as a temporary measure, a three-foot-high concrete wall will be constructed to prevent water from entering the stand from the adjacent canal.

Additionally, steps will be taken in consultation with railway authorities to install a pipe under the railway line to drain water from the bus stand.

The minister also said that it is currently difficult to estimate the extent to which these measures will resolve the current issues. “The bus stand will be renovated without demolishing the building. New restrooms will be constructed and maintained by selected agencies. The funds for these activities will be sourced from CSR and NGO contributions,” he said. 

Ganesh also invited suggestions from the public for resolving the issues. Housekeeping wings will be established at all bus stands to ensure cleanliness. Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden, MLA T J Vinod, district collector N S K Umesh, district development committee commissioner M S Madhavikutty, corporation secretary V Chelsasini, standing committee chairman P R Ranish were present.

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