Mangalore, Nov 1, 2011: Mangalore is no doubt a booming city. It now has several concretized roads to boast of and of course hi-rise buildings, both residential and commercial complexes. The mall culture too is gaining momentum and people are thronging the malls for shopping or just to have some fun.
Several industries are on the pipeline as part of the MSEZ, though it is also equally true that the second phase of this ambitious project is in the dock after the denotification of land meant for the purpose.
What about the standard of basic infrastructural facilities in this burgeoning city, which is considered next only to the capital Bangalore? It is hardly up to the mark and poorly maintained, especially at strategic places in the city. Of course several roads are concretized. But at the same time it cannot be forgotten that many of the inner roads are in bad shape, dotted with potholes making them unmotorable.
Then coming to another basic need of a city- a full-fledged bus stand. Does Mangalore at least have this? Sadly no. The existing bus stand at State Bank can be described as an adhoc arrangement that has been continuing since long. No one can term it as a bus stand by any means. Over 500 odd city buses come to this place which is their starting point and there is absolutely chaos at this bus stand particularly during peak hours. The bus stand has a range of problems, from the stinking fish market nearby to the improper parking of private buses. The buses are least bothered about the safety of the people around waiting for the buses. There have been incidents of buses hitting pedestrians here on several earlier occasions. Bus stands should have platforms, but that’s not the case here. Neither are there any bus shelter for the people to wait for the buses. People new to the city are left clueless as to which bus to get into. The great irony is that the private city bus stand and the office of the deputy commissioner are just a few yards away. But, why has the administration turned a blind eye to the pathetic state of the bus stand until now?
Several proposals made for a permanent bus stand for Mangalore have been in the dock and the only proposal that is making rounds now is the transportation hub proposed at Pumpwell. Though the district minister is oft and again making statements that the bus stand works would begin, there are no signs as to yet but for the initial leveling works. More land for the same is yet to be acquired. In November last year, the district minister had directed the then Deputy Commissioner Subodh Yadav to see to it that works pertaining to Pumpwell bus stand started within six months. But, nothing happened. Meanwhile, there were even complaints of dearth of funds for kick starting this project.Yet again, just a few days ago, the minister while participating in another function said the work on the bus stand proposal would begin within a couple of days. Any takers for such statements?
If reports are to be believed, the corporation is yet to prepare a blueprint of the proposed hub and was yet to have a blueprint for constructing a bus-stand, apart from arranging funds for this project.
It’s been years since the city has been putting up with the congested "temporary service bus stand" and the so called ‘official’city bus terminus at State Bank area. As the city has been witnessing a rapid development for a few years now, people have started feeling the pressure of traffic congestion in the Hampankatta area, as the bus-stand for the private express buses, is barely a few hundred meters away from the city bus stand.
Bharat Lal Meena, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada from 1994 to 1996, had proposed to construct satellite bus terminals at Kadri, Kottara and Pumpwell to ease the traffic congestion inside the city, but sadly the projects were shelved.
If this is the bus stand story, the story of the one and only major public sports ground of Mangalore, the Nehru Maidan, is no better. Though it was supposed to be meant only for sports purposes, as was the condition laid down while handing it over by a philanthropist, the Maidan in the recent few years, has been occupied during most of the year for various other public or religious functions. This has only proved detrimental to the interests of this large maidan as it often gets damaged due to the digging works undertaken whenever some pandal is put up here. The regret is that people who are permitted to arrange functions here never bothered to clean up the area once they vacate it nor close the trenches or holes dug up by them. Even the authorities fail to see to it that the ground is returned unharmed.
Where lies the solution to all these problems? Are our authorities sleeping over such pertinent issues? Why is it that the city of Mangalore could not have a permanent bus stand all these years? Why couldn’t the Nehru Maidan be properly maintained? Why can’t there be some agency to solely look after such issues? What has the city corporation and the district administration doing all these years? Why aren’t Mangaloreans raising voice against these gaping problems which are nothing but a black spot on the image of the city? Questions remain as Mangalore is continuing to cope with these problems.