Authorities stint on a basic amenity at the Kempegowda Bus Station
Though a year has elapsed since the Kempegowda bus station (KBS) in the city built new platforms for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation's inter-city services, the authorities appeared to have overlooked one crucial detail: drinking water taps to help quench the thirst of travel-weary passengers.
With the number of those travelling registering an increase thanks to the summer holidays, the soaring mercury levels parch throats and tire the passengers.
With no drinking water taps in sight in the new platforms, passengers have little option but to buy bottled water from the stalls and other hotels nearby.
Though there are two taps on the station premises (not on renovated platforms), water comes only in trickles. “Till a month ago, there was no water in these taps. It may have improved over the last few days, but a question mark hangs over hygiene,” said Hrishikesh Kumar.
He pointed out that there was only one water cooler-cum-dispenser at the bus station, which dispenses tepid water during the summer. Hence, most of the passengers are forced to buy bottled water at exorbitant prices.
The prudent ones bring their own supply.
“It's better to carry bottles from home as the water here may be contaminated or unclean,” said Sarika Rao, a student travelling to Davangere. “We avoid buying water from stalls because the vendors overcharge us.” A couple travelling to Kerala said a metropolitan city like Bangalore should have basic amenities for travellers. They also said they were suspicious of buying packaged water as the brands were mostly unfamiliar.
Srinivasan, another traveller, said: “KSRTC must install water dispensers here on the lines of the Indian Railways; it is not just enough to collect hefty fares.” Chandrappa (name changed), a KSRTC conductor, said a majority of the crew depends upon the hotel within the bus station for drinking water needs though once in the while they are snubbed by the proprietors.
In defence, one of the hotel employees said: “Conductors and drivers bring four or five empty bottles to fill drinking water. With hundreds of crew coming and collecting drinking water, we get a hefty water bill from KSRTC as we are charged commercial rates.” He added: “We don't object to people drinking water within our premises.”
‘Taps will be repaired'
A senior KSRTC official said immediate steps will be taken to repair existing water dispensers at the KBS.
Also, additional dispensers will be provided if need be, he added.