Safety misses the bus at ISBT

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Delhi’s Maharana Pratap Bus Terminal links over 1.5 lakh commuters to 400 destinations

Photos and text by Tseten Kazi

The Maharana Pratap Bus Terminal at Delhi’s Kashmere Gate is the lifeline for over 1.5 lakh commuters who use it every day. Connecting Delhi to Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu&Kashmir, it is the oldest inter-state bus connecting the national capital to over 400 destinations.

The terminal is undergoing a massive renovation. However, the project seems plagued with inefficiency and bureaucratic laxity. The renovation which started in June 2011 was due to be completed in March this year, at a cost of Rs 75 crore. The ISBT was to get new escalators, LED display boards, ramps for the disabled, glass elevators, and separate arrival and departure blocks. With the deadline extended to 1 September 2012, the work is still stuck in different stages of completion despite the countdown having begun for the inauguration of the new Inter-State Bus Terminus.

The Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transport System (DIMTS), the executing agency of the project, claims it has completed 80 percent of the work. However, a casual visit reveals a completely different story. Across the terminal, labourers toil through a disarray of construction material even as lakhs of commuters mill around. The DIMTS couldn’t have cared less for those who have to make their way through the rubble and the dangerous under-construction structures to take the bus to their destination. Has the administration not learnt its lessons from the construction fiascos around the Commonwealth Games?

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