Fish vendors encroach the ‘pothole-riddled, stinking’ service bus stand near State Bank

When commuters of the air-conditioned Volvo buses from Manipal reach Mangalore Service Bus Stand, they alight only to step onto a carpet of dry fish. The bus is forced to stop at the spot, where vendors from the adjoining State Bank fish market dry fish on tarpaulins spread on the ground.

The vendors say they have no choice but to dry fish at the bus stand as shops have taken up other space. Kaushalya, a fish vendor, says, “The buses take care of themselves.”

Appasab, conductor of a Volvo bus on the Udupi route, says, “Many times the tyres run over the fish.” Sunil D’Souza, its driver, says parking the bus away from the fish stops movement of other buses.

That is one of the several inconveniences at the bus stand. One part of the stand smells of fish and the other has a stench from the open-air toilet. Very few people use the pay-and-use toilets, which are dirty, said one conductor.

Several commuters say the place sorely lacks facilities such as shelter from rain, sun and toilets. There is no place to sit as the seats are dirty and have no backs. Ameena, an elderly woman, says she was lucky as the juice vendor gave her a plastic stool to sit on. Nagaraj, a passenger, says, “Keep standing here, rain or shine.”

The road inside the bus stand is uneven and is riddled with potholes. Mr. D’Souza said, “There are three potholes within 30 metres. It is difficult not to damage the low-floored Volvo.”

R.P. Pai, Head, Department of Community Medicine, Yenepoya University, who has been using the bus stand for 10 years, says till the bus stand is shifted to Pumpwell, banks perhaps could be involved in providing some facilities at the bus stand, which earns enough revenues. “They can give the same facilities as the KSRTC Bus Stand (at Bejai). This is nobody’s baby,” he says. Ajith Kumar Hegde, Commissioner, Mangalore City Corporation (MCC), said he could not comment on the issue of fish being dried on the ground in the bus stand but said the potholes on the road inside the bus stand will be repaired as soon as the rains stop from funds of Rs. 1.87 crore.

J.R. Lobo, MLA, Mangalore South, said, “I will ask the Corporation people to see that these things (fish being dried on the ground) do not happen. Police has to be taken into confidence. I will take the Commissioner and visit there.” He said he will check on his earlier instructions to MCC on attending to the issues of potholes, drainage, roof, lights and toilets in the bus stand.

Ajith Kumar Hegde, Commissioner, Mangalore City Corporation (MCC), says that an area of about one acre, next to Town Hall, will be cleaned and turned into a place for hosting cultural events. He says the empty plot is a good place where plays and Yakshagana can be staged and will be accessible to all people.

The plot is separated from the Mangalore Service Bus stand by a wall, and has a road next to it. But the road is being used as a toilet, resulting in a stench. People must use the pay-and-use toilets and learn to maintain them.

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