The State Government has set the ball rolling for introduction of city bus service in three western Odisha districts with the Housing and Urban Development Department issuing the Request for Proposal (RFP).
The proposed bus service would connect five towns including Sambalpur, Hirakud, Burla, Jharsuguda and Bargarh in these districts. The Western Odisha Urban Transport Services Limited (WOUTSL), which will be the management body for the service, has sought to engage private operators on four routes in Sambalpur and six routes connecting all five towns.
District headquarters town Sambalpur stands to benefit the most from the service given its socio-economic profile in the region. The bus service would cover the entire town as routes have been chosen in a manner that it connects important points such as bus stand and railway station.
Besides, prominent public places such as Samleshwari Temple and Buddharaja Temple as well as commercial and residential pockets are targeted to be connected.
Besides, bus service will connect Jharsuguda and Bargarh which are within 70 km distance from Sambalpur. Previously, the region lacked organised public transport system with private mini bus operators and auto-rickshaws calling the shots.
The RFP stated that services provided by the operators were inadequate, inefficient and ill managed. Lack of efficient and adequate public transport system had led to a rapid increase in personal vehicles resulting in congestion and pollution.
The WOUTSL will open the pre-qualification bid in September which will be followed by technical and financial bids.