ROURKELA: More than 27 years after Chhend Housing Colony was established in Rourkela, the area lacks an efficient public transport system. The colony and its nearby areas are home to 33,000 people.
The situation is a boon for unscrupulous auto-rickshaw drivers who fleece people charging them exorbitantly.
From 1988 onwards, the colony, said to be Asia’s second largest housing colony, started witnessing a rise in population. It has developed as the most planned and clean locality of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) limits and houses Government-owned Biju Patnaik University of Technology. However, on the dark side, majority of the colony residents who do not have personal vehicles continue to suffer.
Consider this: The distance from Chhend Colony to Uditnagar, which houses all important Government offices, courts and Rourkela Government Hospital (RGH), is about 3.5 km via Basanti Colony.
A commuter is forced to travel at least 20 km in buses through the captive township of RSP to reach Bisra Square and take another vehicle to Uditnagar. The journey takes 75 minutes and costs Rs 20.
Now, four buses make to and fro journey via RSP’s township. To mount woes of commuters, auto-rickshaws only ply in reserve mode and charge Rs 80 for a journey of 3.5 km to Uditnagar, while it is Rs 120 till Rourkela station.
The Sundargarh Urban Transport Trust (SUTT) failed to cover Chhend in its fleet of 16 newly-introduced buses.
Sundargarh Motor Karmachari Sangh leader Akshay Mahanta suggested to ply buses from Rourkela via Uditnagar, RGH, Hanuman Vatika, again to Uditnagar and then through the Basanti Colony to Chhend. Earlier, on a couple of occasions, a few buses were introduced and quickly taken off the route via Basanti Colony to Uditnagar.
Rourkela ADM, who is also the SUTT Chief Executive Officer, K Sudershan Chakravorty said surveys by two agencies did not mention the Chhend route. Based on passengers’ demand, Chhend could be covered as the SUTT plans to introduce 14 more buses.