THANJAVUR: The Thanjavur old bus stand, which has been redeveloped under the Smart City scheme and inaugurated by Chief Minister M K Stalin through video conference on December 8, is yet to become operational. Passengers are still seen going to the temporary bus stand at Karanthai area. To carry out the construction work, the terminus was closed on September 8, 2019.
Passengers who take the buses from the old bus stand area can be seen standing in the open braving the sun and rain owing to the delay in beginning operations at the bus stand. Two of the 20 components of the Smart City scheme pertain to the redevelopment of the Thanjavur old bus stand and converting the nearby terminus for Tiruvaiyaru route buses into a multi-purpose parking area.
According to sources, a sum of Rs 14.88 crores was spent for the redevelopment of the old bus stand and Rs 13.85 crores for converting the Tiruvaiyaru route bus stand into a mixed-use, multi-level parking area.
Though works had to be completed by October 2020, even after adjusting the schedule due to the pandemic, the construction work ended only a few months ago.
According to sources, shopkeepers who took shops inside the terminus on lease had sought time from the City Corporation to furnish their shops and the administration had also given a week's time. However, even after the lapse of 12 days, the bus stand has not become operational.
"We have been demanding the early opening of the bus stand. Now, even after the inauguration ceremony, passengers and bus crew are suffering as operations are yet to begin," rued D Mathivanan, State vice-president of Tamil Nadu State Transport corporation (TNSTC) workers federation (AITUC).
"To reach the temporary bus stand at Karanthai, TNSTC has to spend extra fuel. Passengers also have to suffer standing outside the old bus stand in the open. The redeveloped bus stand, now called the smart city bus stand, must be made operational without delay," he said.
The smart city bus stand has 39 bus bays, five waiting halls for passengers, a mother feeding centre, four toilet blocks each two for men and women, six drinking water kiosks, a clock room and a time office. Besides, there are 40 shops and a separate restaurant block. The multi-purpose parking area, developed at the erstwhile Tiruvaiyaru route bus terminus, has a parking area with space for 434 two-wheelers and 61 four-wheelers. Besides, there are 31 shops and eight restaurants on this complex.
When contacted K Saravanakumar, Commissioner of City Corporation, told TNIE that he would take immediate action to begin the operations at the bus stand.