05 Jul 2018 05:19am IST
AVINASH TAVARES MARGAO
The state government may have announced the Margao Transport Hub may be in the pipeline but it is obvious thye have not conducted any study of its effects on the area
A few weeks ago, the Government announced that the Margao Transport Hub which was launched in 2011 was now in the pipeline. Rechristened as the “Fatorda Margao Bus Terminus”, this Rs. 350 Crore project is all set to become one of India’s biggest and most well equipped bus terminus, at least according to claims being made by the Government. The information about the project was revealed at a meeting of the GSIDC and KTC officials along with the TCP minister and was hosted by the Chief Minister.
Herald has conducted a fact-checking exercise on the information given to the media at the meeting. We visited the KTC bus stand and spoke to several people and officials to collect data, information about the ground realities at the Bus terminus and their opinion on the project.
The present infrastructure at Kadamba bus terminus is minimal with much of the space utilised for parking buses. There is a bus shed, a tool room, a Sulabh toilet, a garage and the Kadamba office. The proposed project has a bus concourse with retail shops and offices above, Fish and Vegetable Market, KTCL offices, Bus Depot, Multi-level car part and a public fuel station. A closer look at the project reveals that all these new add-on facilities are coming at the cost of the basic facilities that the current infrastructure provides.
With the present infrastructure, around 300 buses can be accommodated in the area. With all the additional proposed infrastructure, space will be reduced to around 134 buses. Interestingly, around 100 cars and 280 bikes can be parked at one time, which are set to increase to 1330 cars and 1037 bikes. The citizens living around are concerned that the proposed terminus will severely increase traffic jams around the area.
Since the KTC Bus Terminus was first proposed in 2011, there has been a boom in real estate around the area. Today there are a number of public and private building that have come up along the road
– Thousands of people visit this building every day to apply for Aadhar card, DDSSY health cards, various certificates, marriage registration ration cards, tourism permits, Sanad conversion, mutation, partition etc.
Whole Sale Fish Market -
Hundreds of pickups and private vehicles come to the market to supply and distribute wholesale fish.
Retail SGPDA Fish, Vegetable and Meat market
– This market is one of the major cause for traffic congestion along the road near Old Market circle.
– This complex houses 4 Movie Screens, RTO Office, South Goa PDA, TCP Office, GST Office, Excise Department. People who visit these offices occupy most of the SGPDA ground along the KTC-Old market circle road. Traffic moves at snail's pace while vehicles enter and leave this area. The Income Tax office and Consumer court are in the adjacent building
there the Presentation School, the upcoming District Hospital, District Court complex, an upcoming Civil and Criminal Court Complex, 4 hotels, several restaurants like Tatos, KFC & Navtara, Rebello Hospital, the parking lot opposite KTC, all of which are the source of traffic along the road.
During certain events such as Cricket and Football matches at the Nehru Stadium, and the exhibitions and fairs which are set up on SGPDA ground, bring traffic to a standstill during peak hours.
There are several commercial/office complexes along the KTC road and more are under construction.
The Government has not done any cumulative traffic impact study of the present situation. The build first – solve traffic issues later model of development was demonstrated near the Dabolim Airport multi-level car park where the government had to later construct two flyovers worth 41.8 Crores to ease the traffic congestion.
There is no doubt that the government will have to spend atlest another Rs. 100 Crores to ensure traffic flows smoothly in and out of the bus terminus. At present, the traffic in front of the bus stand gets blocked whenever buses from the South are entering and when buses heading north are leaving the bus stand. Grade separators will be needed to remove this bottleneck. In addition, a flyover will be needed to reduce traffic congestion in the Madel area along the roads connecting the bus terminus and the Western bypass. In 2013, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, probably foreseeing this problem, had recommended shifting the proposed project to the GSUDA land at Madel near the wholesale fish market. However, that idea was scarped after the local MLA opposed it.
Interestingly, neither the KTC at Margao nor the GSIDC officials are aware of the details of the proposed project. Both claim that they have not received any details or plans for the terminus. KTC sources claim that the consultant did not come to the terminus recently to conduct any study on the ground situation. “Everything happens in the KTC head office and we are not aware of anything”, they said. The staff expressed their concern over the mere construction of a petrol pump near the depot which they fear will reduce the land available to them for parking their buses in the depot and also increase the traffic in front of the terminus.
Herald spoke to the leaders of the association of motorcycle pilots, the taxis and even the rickshaws. They all said that during the stakeholder meeting, they were told that a new bus stand is coming and whether they want it or not. If they want it, they will have to give it in writing that they don’t have any object.
The GSIDC officials claimed that no proposal has been received by them. “It’s all speculation as of now”, said a GSIDC official.Herald tried to call Mr Sanjay Gathe, GM of Kadamba Transport Corporation for the last two days but he did not answer the call.
Will the Government spend 350 Crores on the project? Maybe. But there are other issues such as the economic viability of the projects. Based on the current earnings of the bus terminus, the project is not viable. Unless a finance appraisal report is prepared, any claim of profitability is pure speculation. Considering the annual maintenance will cost at least a few Crores it’s unlikely that the government will operate the integrated transport and commercial complex. As suggested by the officials, the project will be developed through a Public-Private partnership which based on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model. In that case, similar to the Mopa Airport, the Government may hand over the commercial assets of the projects, such as malls and shops, to the private partner in order to make the entire project profitable.