October 27, 2015
The bus stand on the Mettupalayam Road that was inaugurated with much fanfare during World Tamil Conference by the then Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin and that which was in an state of disuse until recently, is now being used due to compulsion because of the flyover work in progress at Gandhipuram.
But the passengers are now not able to put to use the facilities for which a whopping Rs 164 lakh was spent in 2010. The bus stand was also accorded with an ISO certificate for these facilities.
The bus stand as it stands today is not something to be impressed about. There is a huge clock tower that has a time piece on all four sides. The four time pieces flash four different times. “I do not have the habit of wearing a watch. Last week my mobile phone ran out of battery and as I looked up at the clock on the tower, each side showed different time,” Abdul H a passenger from Kerala says.
A couple of years ago, the Madras High Court passed an order making it mandatory for all buses to halt inside the bus stand. By rule no bus is allowed to pick up or drop passengers outside. And to make this procedure mandatory, there was a board placed stating this rule. However, today, there is no sign of the board and the rule is not being adhered to.
There is no first aid box or medical kiosk in the vicinity of this bus stand. There was a space allotted for one 108 ambulance meant to be parked as stand-by just in case of a medical emergency. Social activist A. Manoj tells us that there has been no sign of an ambulance for a long time now.
On entering the bus stand there are small shops on either sides. Those who visited this bus stand when it was inaugurated recall the smaller size of the shops. Today they have increased in size. “This is a clear violation by the shop owners,” Manoj points out.
The room that flashes the live footage from the CCTV cameras placed in the bus stand is manned by a personnel. But how far this is being made useful for the purpose of police when there is a need is yet to be seen.
Behind the bakery there is a utility room that is meant for the passengers to take a break and rest. However, this room that has cots also doubles up as a room where the bus drivers and conductors nap and rest.
The sight of the rest rooms for men and women is an indication of how irregularly it is cleaned. Moreover, display board that reads how much one must pay in order to make use of the pay-and-use toilet is conveniently missing. Currently, one must pay Rs. 5 in order to use the rest rooms.
Spare a thought for expecting mothers who wish to answer natures call while at this bus stand. Kalavathi Shekar from Kavundampalayam, who is in her trimester of pregnancy visited the bus stand to receive her relatives. As she was unable to use the pay-and-use toilet in this bus stand she used the rest room in an eatery located close to the bus stand and vouched never to return to the place again.