At a recent consultative meeting, that took place in the backdrop of Vaikunta Ekadasi festival, the strengthening of transport facilities to Srirangam was one of the preparatory details discussed. Speaking at the meeting, K.P. Munusamy, Local Administration Minister, said that the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation would operate 50 special buses to Srirangam during the festival period.
While the special fleet of buses may have ironed out commuter concerns over reaching the temple, it further compounds one of Srirangam's existing issues, the lack of an approved bus stand.
Being close to the Rajagopuram, the EVS street stop in Srirangam presents an ever congested image, while the land allocated by the city corporation for the creation of a dedicated bus stand remains unused.
According to a senior official at the Regional Transport Office in Srirangam, there are certain requirements that need to be met before a bus stand can be approved by them.
“The bare minimum facilities that should be provided at a bus stand include a waiting shed for passengers, adequate lighting during night time, availability drinking water, toilet facilities and a chart that denotes the arrival and departure timings of the buses.
At the moment, the EVS bus stop has a drinking water provision and a couple of urinals only,” the official said.
Srirangam being the point of termination for most buses in the city is one of the main reasons behind the absence of a dedicated bus stand for the area.
Since not many change buses and travel elsewhere from Srirangam, the concept of a floating population needing transit facilities does not arise, according to the official.
While the official stand seems to discount the need for a bus terminus in Srirangam, the residents and shop owners near the EVS bus stop feel the present system could work better if stricter regulations to decongest the area are brought in.
“If the government ensures that the buses line up behind each other and provides some basic facilities, Srirangam does not need more than the EVS street stop,” said T.K. Shrihariram who owns a shop near the Raghavendra arch. Pointing out the EVS stop's proximity to the Rajagopuram, Hema Sridharan, a resident of Srirangam felt the creation of a new terminus somewhere away from the temple could affect those who visit the place for the festival .