Although Udupi is a pilgrim centre, an educational hub and a well-known tourist destination, it still does not have a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus stand. This, despite the fact that, Udupi became a district headquarters 16 years ago.
As many as 180 KSRTC buses pass through Udupi every day and 20 KSRTC buses have Udupi as their starting point. The KSRTC bus stand functions from a small complex built by the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC), about nine years ago under the Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment Project (KUDCEMP), in the heart of the city.
KSRTC pays a rent of Rs. 2 per bus to the CMC for using the space. According to CMC Commissioner Gokuldas Nayak, the maintenance of the bus stand was being done by the CMC.
The bus stand is small, congested and without any platform facilities for the buses. In fact, KSRTC buses have to jostle for space. S. Shiva, Traffic Controller at the KSRTC bus stand, said that the space available was less. Not more than four buses could be accommodated at a time.
“It is difficult to accommodate buses if they come before time. There is no space for buses to turn. It is especially difficult during evenings as more buses arrive,” he said.
But that is not all. “The KSRTC Office is located in a small single room, which also functions as the reservation counter for booking tickets. There is no rest room for bus drivers and conductors arriving from long-distance journeys,” he said.
“Since reservations are done here, we collect a lot of cash. As there is no proper security here, we send the cash collected to our (KSRTC) depot at Nittur here. The sooner a KSRTC bus stand is constructed, the better it is for us as well as the passengers”, Mr. Shiva said.
A proposal to construct the KSRTC bus stand on a three-acre plot of land at Bannanje here, has been in the pipeline for a long time, but has not taken off.
M. Mahesh, Divisional Controller, Mangalore Division, KSRTC, said his division had already sent a proposal to construct a KSRTC bus stand to the Central Office in Bangalore. The land indentified at Bannanje for the bus stand belonged to the Public Works Department (PWD) and was yet to be handed over to the KSRTC.
“The State government has to approve the transfer of land. Only after the transfer, a construction plan can be chalked out and taken up. A KSRTC bus stand will be of great benefit to the passengers”, Mr. Mahesh said.