Facility at Pallavaram bus stand is yet to become operational

After spending more than Rs. 50 lakh on creating and modifying a shelter at Pallavaram bus stand, the facility is yet to be made operational. Instead, it has become a private parking lot, especially for vehicles carrying customers to a couple of government liquor outlets.

The shelter in Pallavaram on Grand Southern Trunk for Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses towards Tambaram was created at a cost of around Rs. 30 lakh. Two years ago, as part of efforts to decongest the stretch, it was decided to shift the shelter behind by a few metres to create additional space for vehicles to travel easily on GST Road. A joint inspection by elected representatives, municipal officials, police and staff from other government departments were made as part of proposals mooted by the Short Term Traffic Improvement Committee then. An estimated sum of Rs. 20 was spent and work has been completed, but MTC buses continue to halt on GST Road. Commuters wait outside the bus shelter to board the MTC buses. What is more appalling is that the shelter has become a convenient parking for private vehicles. Drivers of MTC buses themselves are not aware why they were not being asked to use the facility.

“Waiting for buses is not difficult. Putting up with the behaviour of men who are in an inebriated condition is pathetic, especially for women commuters,” said G. Saroja, a commuter. After dusk and at times even during the daytime, men consume liquor sitting at the platform under the shelter, commuters complained. The presence of a police station right opposite the bus stand hardly deters the miscreants. Like in any other place in the southern suburb, there is unrestricted sale of liquor through bars and other shops through the night, commuters said. “A huge amount of the tax payers' money has been spent on creating a bus shelter and it is of use only to drunkards and miscreants,” said S.P. Gandhi, secretary of Pallavaram Pavement and Small Traders' Association.

Residents of the IHFD Apartments behind the bus stand are among the worst affected as they pass through the stretch to reach their homes. By not using the facility, the travelling public was only subject to greater hardship, Mr. Gandhi said.

K.M.R. Nissar Ahmed, Pallavaram Municipal Chairman, said works had been completed and they had written to the MTC authorities to take over the facility and make the buses halt inside the shelter instead of GST Road. He was hopeful that the shelter would be operational at the earliest. Several hundred services of MTC pass through Pallavaram every day connecting some of the remote villages like Pazhanthandalam, Poonthandalam and Tirumudivakkam and the shelter was an important facility for the comfort of commuters, but for reasons known only to the government agencies, it was not being used for many months now, Mr. Gandhi added.

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