MOHALI: The state-of-the-art air-conditioned Baba Banda Singh Bahadur ISBT in Mohali, an ambitious project of former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is in tumultuous waters as PunjabState Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) snapped the power supply to the terminus. The bus stand at Phase VI was inaugurated with splendor, but after a stark fall in the number of buses plying from there, Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu demanded scrapping of the project terming it as ‘useless’ for the general public. Sidhu has also questioned the viability of the project.
The terminus which was constructed with a cost of Rs 350 crore was to be operated and maintained by a private company but a few months after the inauguration, the company left the terminus. PSPCL executive engineer said that the company failed to pay the pending bills tuning to approximately Rs 2.4 lakh and hence the electricity department halted the power connection. PSPCL executive engineer R S Oberoi said, “The power connection of new bus stand has been cut as they owe us approximately 2.4 lakh pending bills. They have also not applied for permanent connection yet.”
MLA Sidhu said, “The bus stand is another example of poor planning of the SAD government. Its design and location are not in the interest of public and fails to facilitate the commuters. The money which was spent on the project is a mere waste of resources as the terminus is of no use now. The company managing the project has already deserted the project and fled.”
Sidhu said that he has written a letter to Punjab government for scrapping the project and to use the building for alternative purposes in public interest. Under the project, the bus stand was to have 10-screen multiplexes, corporate offices, two new multi-storied towers (13 and 18 floors), a five-star 130-room hotel, a banquet hall, markets and a helipad.
“Multiplexes, offices, hotels, eateries and markets in the complex can still run successfully for which the government must take control of the project,” added Sidhu.
The Mohali Deputy Commissioner had notified the new bus stand on December 14, 2016 and it was inaugurated by Sukhbir Singh Badal on December 16. At present, the bus stand having facilities, such as glass lifts, escalators, washrooms, drinking water facility and good seating arrangement, has a footfall of around 200 persons. Inderjeet, a commuter said that passengers refrain from coming here as there are not enough buses.
Many buses don’t even halt at the bus stand said another passenger.
“Long-route buses do not stop for those wanting to get down at local stops. We have to wait for hours as there are no buses,” said Karam Singh and Gaganjit Singh, students who travel to Mohali from Ropar regularly. As many as three to four private buses from Patiala stop at the station everyday. On the other hand, the old bus stand witnesses around 600 buses every day.
‘Mohali residents duped in the name of new bus stand’
Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the previous government has cheated residents of Mohali as the agreement between the company and the Punjab Government departments, including GMADA and transport corporation, it was stated that more than 1,900 buses would come to the bus stand in a day.
“In March, the number of buses was 650 and now it has reduced to 200 buses. Most buses do not halt and even the ones picking passengers from the bus shelter near Max Hospital at Phase VI rarely come to the new ISBT,” said Sidhu