UP CLOSE The bus stand at Kalasipalya is older than the city’s de facto bus station at Majestic
What commuters and bus operators come upon at Kalasipalya, an area whose name is immediately associated with boarding buses out of town by frequent travellers, is the leftovers of a bus-stand.
Its origins are said to be older than that of the city’s de facto central bus station — the Kempegowda Bus Station at Majestic. The old depot was bulldozed some years ago with a promise that a new one would be built soon. However, while there is an ‘in-principle’ agreement to construct one, no beginnings have been made yet. What is visible is a piece of land, adjacent to a huge garbage dump, where the new depot is supposed to come up.
Why so disorganised?
Within the confines of this run-down quadrilateral, government and private buses compete for space to park their vehicles, as well as for some form of visibility to pick up as many commuters as possible.
Commuters, in the meantime, have to wade through piles of garbage and dodge wheels, to finally catch a bus. Step outside, and the scene is re-enacted with congested lanes occupied by private inter-State buses.
Throughout the area, various stakeholders, be it commuters, bus operators or shopkeepers, are asking the same question: why is the area so disorganised? “This is treated as an unofficial bus-stand. Since government and private buses operate from here, one expects an organised setup at a place like this,” said B.V. Someswaran, a commuter.
When the bus depot is constructed, it will house only BMTC and private local buses. Private inter-State services will have to continue to fend for themselves outside the depot.
But occupants of the area believe that there might be some respite even if just the depot itself is constructed. “There are schools, hospitals and markets in this area. If even one part of it is more organised, it could help organise the rest,” said another commuter.
“The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has in-principle transferred the land to us. It is now our responsibility to construct the bus-stand here. And we will do so once the official formalities are completed. The matter, we believe, is before the government,” said N.Veeregowda, Chief Traffic Manager (Commercial), Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation.
However the actual construction of the depot has several other implications for the rest in the area.
“This area should be called ‘Kachadapalya’,” began a private inter-State travel operator. “If the construction of the complex begins, they might ask private inter-state bus operators to move out of the area. We have no official space in the city that is assigned to us unlike other cities. We are forced to pay the traffic police some money to let us stay on the road until our passengers are able to board the buses. And this is because we do not have a dedicated space.”
Pieces of the pie
Another segment of the population of Kalasipalya that will suffer if the depot comes up is the vendors.
“We have been living and doing business here for years. If and when the bus-stand comes up, the corporation will have to allocate some space for us so that we can continue doing business here. As it is, we are not allowed to sell our goods in peace. ‘The police’ come to collect a part of our income every day. Only if we pay them can we continue doing business here,” said Panduranga, a vendor.
Each one of them wants a piece of Kalasipalya. The manner in which their demands are met will determine the difference between planning and chaos.