Modern Bus Stand coming up in Jammu

Gopal Sharma
A prestigious mega Jammu Bus Terminal project on BC Road being constructed on a pattern of ISBT New Delhi and Ahmedabad with the cost of Rs 213.11 crore is all set to meet the deadline of October 2018 as fixed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development of J&K Government. This will be the first of its kind grand Bus Terminal project not only in J&K but in the northern region.
Having a capacity to accommodate 80 buses and 1312 cars/ jeeps, this five-storey multi-utility complex being raised on 54 kanals of area, with 6.5 lakh square feet concrete building, has been housed at the Old General Bus Stand site by shifting all the buses and other workshops and many shops to some other locations. It will give new facelift to the old Jammu Bus Stand and the entire site with grand multi-storey complex having a large shopping Mall at the top and second top floors of the building and direct connectivity to historic Shri Raghunath Ji Temple Road at Hari Market.
While ground floor of the complex would provide accommodation to the eighty buses, mostly operating to Katra Mata Vaishnodevi, Reasi, Udhampur, Ramban, Banihal, Doda, Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, Ramnagar etc, the next three storeys of the building would be meant for the parking of over 1300 cars and jeeps. Within the complex, there will be a taxi stand of the capacity of 300 taxies and an auto-rikshaw stand to accommodate 180 three wheelers.
There will be a grand shopping complex in the same complex where some shopkeepers displaced from the old site would be accommodated while, rest of the shops in the Mall would be put to general auction to meet the expenditure on account of construction of this grand complex. The agency, Jammu Development Authority (JDA) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development Department (J&K) has created a dedicated Division for the completion of this prestigious Jammu project. A total two years time has been given to the Mumbai based agency, M/s Shahpoorji Pallanji & Col Pvt Ltd (SPCPL), a sister concern of AFCON India Pvt Ltd.
It may be recalled that prior to this only General Bus Stand in Jammu, all the buses used to operate from Parade Ground, where Police Control Room existed now. It was shifted from Parade Ground to BC Road during early 70s as the number of buses went on increasing. With the passage of time and creation of workshops and other shops/ Khokhas in and around Bus Stand with the connivance of some insiders in the JDA, the size of this Bus Stand went on squeezing. The ever increasing volume of vehicles further forced the authorities to go for creation of separate ISBT Bus Stand at Narwal, another bus terminal/ bus stand at Khanpur near Nagrota, another one at Ware House and they are now looking for creation of separate Bus Stand for Poonch/ Rajouri and Akhnoor-Chhamb route buses. It is tragedy and worst failure on the part of JDA, Transport and Traffic Police authorities that even after six years of completion, Khanpur Bus Stand could not be put to use and huge funds spent on the project have gone down the drain, raising question on the efficiency, planning and expertise of the then people at the helm of affairs.
Dy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh said though this project was conceived during the time of previous Government, but it was just in the air then. They even went for laying foundation stone in haste with out making proper DPR and arrangements of funds. It was under him that this project was put on rails by preparing DPR, arranging funds and allotting contract to a prestigious firm with lot of expertise in the field. It was his Mufti Mohd Sayeed, who laid the foundation stone in his presence and finally launched work on this project. He said the project is being completed with the Central funding. In the next phase shops created in the Mall would be put to auction to generate revenue by JDA for utilization on the said project. This will be a unique mega and first of its kind project in the northern region. All the parameters have been worked out and lot of parking space has been created to cater to the need of pilgrims visiting Shri Raghunath Ji Temple, shoppers visiting adjoining markets, Bus Stand to drop and pick up passengers and even large shopping complex is being created on top two floors.
Keeping in view the increasing congestion on the city roads and lanes, a grand parking slot has been created near City Chowk with a cost of Rs 50 core, two more at Panjthirthi near Radio Station and another one near Pir Kho, Circular Road area is being created. “ We want to declare entire Old Jammu city as `Heritage City’ with additional innovation and allied works and for this the cooperation of the business community especially from City Chowk, Raghunath Bazar, Purani Mandi and Kanak Mandi is much needed. We will hold series of meetings with their representatives for clearing congestion and seeking their suggestions and cooperation,” Dr Singh maintained.
Superintending Engineer, JDA TL Thappa claimed that the work on this project was started during October 2016 and October 2018 is the completion target given to the agency. A Mumbai based agency has been engaged for the construction of this multi-storey complex on turn key basis. The entire responsibility of the construction including preparation of DPR has been given to the contractors M/s SPCPL. If JDA continued to get adequate support from the Power Development Department in shifting of 33 KV line and also from the local administration, some traders and public representatives, the project would be completed within the given time frame.
Executive Engineer, Incharge Project, RP Gupta told the Excelsior that 230 shops are being created on top two floors of the complex. Nearly 150 traders/ shopkeepers had to be rehabilitated and out of them 97 have been shifted to Narwal and mostly they are workshop owners and parcels/ goods handlers. Remaining will be accommodated in the same complex after completion.
Referring to the major hurdle, Project Engineer said that 33 KV line is the major bottle-neck to be removed. “ We have deposited Rs 103 lakh as compensation with the PDD authorities about five months back but they have not shifted it till today. Tower cranes are unable to operate properly at the site due to this hurdle and this is major risk prone for the 400 men at work at the site. Until this Electricity line is shifted, the project can not run smoothly,” Gupta said adding that the matter was taken up with the Chief Engineer, PDD (EM&RE) about a month back and he assured to start work on shifting of power line from the existing site shortly. Gupta said about 250 to 300 meters area of this electricity line is trouble prone and when the line is shifted, the progress on the project will be expedited. Gupta claimed that the work in double shift was in progress at the construction site and flow of funds is also adequate. “If this high tension electricity line is shifted within next 2-3 weeks, we are still hopeful of completion of this project in time,’ Gupta maintained.
The Project Engineer said cooperation from all the agencies and monitoring on daily basis are the two important gradients. Realizing the importance of this project, the Government has constituted a Steering Committee headed by Divisional Commissioner Jammu, with Vice Chairman JDA, SE JDA, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, MLA Jammu East as its members. In case of any problem related to rehabilitation and shifting of shopkeepers from the Bus Stand complex or on any other arises, the assistance of the Committee and local MLA is sought. Out of the 150 shops/ Khokha/ and other structures in the Bus Stand Complex, 97 were rehabilitated in Narwal –Transport Nagar area in Ist phase. 22 more Khokhas/ shops of `goods/ parcels’ handlers were shifted at Narwal. The remaining have opted to be accommodated in the same complex. When the building is completed, they would be shifted in the complex. But their presence during construction has become risky for the company executing the work. They were requested to shift their business some where else for some time, so that work could be carried out without any obstructions but the cooperation from their side is awaited. Even they were offered lump sum amount per month by the company till the work is completed they also turned down the plea.
Now, since the exit point of the Bus Terminal will be at the back side near old Bus Stand Building, connecting newly created wider road directly with Indira Chowk, there was urgent need to displace the remaining shops and few dhabas and clear this area for creating exist point of the Bus Terminal . The concerned MLA has assured to take up the issue with the Traders Union so that this bottle neck is also cleared.
While as per DPR of the M/s SPCPL, the total project cost is Rs 201.65 crore, the remaining amount will be spent on the utility services including shifted of PHE and PDD lines besides other allied services. For third party quality monitoring purpose, the JDA has engaged Delhi based private agency M/s Nabcons. A large underground water tank is being constructed at the basement of the complex, connecting it through pipes with overhead tanks a top. The agency has devised ultra modernized rain water harvesting mechanism to cope up with the ever increasing need of potable water in the complex. A dedicated power house of 6.3 MVA capacity is being set up in the complex by the PDD to provide round the clock power supply as all utilities including excavators (electric stairs) will be there on all the floor besides several lifts. For the multi-storey car parking, ram mechanism is being devised with different entry and exit points. There would be plenty of parking space in the complex for the shoppers and others visiting the same complex, JMC Complex, Hari Market, Ranbir Market, nearby State Bank and adjoining Raghunath Bazaar. There will be direct connectivity from Multi-parking complex to the Ranbir Market and Shri Raghunath Ji temple.