Nagpur: Any road user who wishes to traverse from Rani Jhansi Square to University Library or the stretch from Variety Square to Maharajbagh Square, can be a very tricky one. Unless you are very skilled in maneuvering your vehicle, you can take nothing less than 25-30 minutes to cross the stretch. The reasons are the auto-rickshaw drivers who block nearly 75% of the road trying to solicit passengers.
Then comes the Star Bus drivers who flaunt all the traffic rules. Even when they know fully well that there is not enough space between two buses standing apart, still they will try to squeeze their vehicle resulting in practically blocking the road. As such, with the road dividers, the road is pretty narrow and leaves no space for other vehicles to move till the Star buses clear the path. Some of the drivers have the audacity to park right next to a bus already standing on the side. This leaves barely space for 2 two-wheelers to pass side by side.
After repeated complaints by the road users, the traffic department too took these Star busses to task. However, they seem to be least bothered about adhering to the law of the land.
After Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) DCP Tangde took charge, he started issuing challans to the bus drivers. This too does not seem to deter these Star Bus drivers. They continue to violate the rules at their whims and only bother to pay challans.
While speaking to Nagpur Today, DCP Bharat Tangde said that he wanted to smoothen the traffic and remove all bottle necks from the road, but the problems posed by these Star Bus operators are preventing him from enforcing stricter rules.
Nagpur Today attempted to find the history behind the traffic problems.
Till 2006, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) which runs the State Transport (ST) Buses, used to operate the city buses in the city. They were given the prime-land in the centre of the city at Mor Bhavan by NIT. However, when they claimed their inability to run the city buses, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) came forward and took the initiative to run the city buses. They in-turn hired a private bus operator to provide the local transport facility to the citizens. In 2007, the Star Bus started operations in the city.
They needed space to run the bus services. So the matter was raised in the General Body Meeting of the NMC and later with the Standing Committee. After deliberating over the issue the NMC allocated around four places at different places in the city.
S. No Place Purpose
01 Patwardhan Grounds For repairing Punctures of Buses
02 Place behind Zero Mile For Washing / Painting
03 Ghat Road NMC Garage For Engine Maintenance
Baidhyanath Sq to Ashok Sq
04 Hingna Road For Parking of Vehicles
Dead End of London Street
These places were leased out to the Star Bus operator for a meager amount.
However, the Star Bus operator still needed pick-up points. So the NMC requested MSRTC and they gave two platforms in Mor Bhavan for which they charge NMC and the operator. With no option left, the Star Bus had to use the Road Side near Rani Jhansi Square and Variety Square.
The actual culprit for causing this traffic congestion is the MSRTC. They are adamant and want to hold on to the Mor Bhavan for reasons best known to them. Some sources told Nagpur Today that they claim that this is a prime land and they would not want to let go of the land. In a brazen act of arrogance, they have started running buses to Chandrapur, Amravati, Wardha and such places from Mor- Bhawan. Yes. The lessee has rights over the land leased out for long term. But in the interest of the public at large, they could have magnanimously let go of their lease and pave way for a smooth wide roads for the commuters.
By Samuel Gunasekharan