Anil Sastry

KSRTC does not operate a single service connecting pilgrimage centres in the region

The corporation had identified land for depot in Koppa but dropped the plan

BANGALORE: The Government and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which opened a sophisticated bus station last week at Adichunchanagiri, where the Adichunchanagiri Math is situated, have been dithering over the construction of a bus depot at Sringeri, the pilgrimage centre thronged by devotees from across the country.

One of the four Shakti Peethas established by Adi Sankara, Sringeri falls in the pilgrimage circuit of Kukke Subramanya, Dharmasthala, Horanadu, Sringeri and Kollur.

The KSRTC does not operate direct buses connecting these places for the benefit of pilgrims.

Though many tourists visiting Dharmasthala intend to travel to Sringeri, they have to resort to private buses as there is no direct KSRTC service.

The KSRTC had identified 10 acres of land in Koppa, a town neighbouring Sringeri, to set up its bus depot. From there, the KSRTC intended to cater for the requirements of the Sringeri Assembly constituency comprising Koppa, Narasimharajapura and Sringeri taluks as well as operate long-distance buses from Sringeri.

However, this plan was shelved and the corporation began searching for land in Sringeri itself.

In response to the Balehonnur-based Road Consumer Forum president Shankaranarayana Bhat’s query, the KSRTC in April this year informed him that the process of identifying land for construction of the depot was on.

However, the Sringeri tahsildar informed Mr. Bhat that suitable land had been shown to the KSRTC at Masige, outside Sringeri town.

Mr. Bhat said although 39 KSRTC services were supposed to operate to and from Sringeri to various places, eight, including services to Mantralaya, Dharwad and Gokarna, were not operating.

The KSRTC operates 13 services from Sringeri to Bangalore, six to Hassan and two to Mysore among others.

Benefits

Opening a depot will create employment opportunities for hundreds of rural youth in the backward and naxal-affected region around Sringeri, Mr. Bhat said. Besides this, the move would encourage healthy competition between private operators and the KSRTC in providing optimum services in the backward region. Hundreds of students would stand to gain in the form of concession passes, he added.

Mr. Bhat questioned the Government’s eagerness to open a huge bus station at Adichunchanagiri while ignoring the requirements of Sringeri, which attracts more people.

An advocate in Sringeri, who requested anonymity, alleged that a strong local private bus company was instrumental in preventing the opening of a KSRTC depot there.

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