Chief Minister to lay foundation stone for the project on Thursday
Chief Minister M.K.Stalin will lay the foundation stone for the integrated bus terminus (IBT) at Panchapur in the city on Thursday, bringing to fruition a proposal that has been hanging fire for more than two decades.
The State government has decided to establish an IBT and allied infrastructure at Panchapur, off the Tiruchi-Madurai Highway, at a total estimated cost of ₹832 crore. On Tuesday, the government order was issued sanctioning the first phase of works at an investment of about ₹350 crore. This includes the establishment of the IBT in an area of about 48 acres at an investment of ₹140 crore and a truck terminal on 25 acres at an estimated cost of ₹76 crore. A multi-utility facilities centre would also come up as part of the project at an investment of ₹59 crore. Another ₹75 crore would be spent on providing roads, storm water drains and other necessary amenities and infrastructure. A part of the funding, about ₹210 crore, is proposed to be drawn from the Smart City Mission.
The foundation stone laying for the project would bring to an end the long political wrangling and indecision over the proposal, which was originally mooted in the mid 1990s. Down the years, successive governments have looked at various sites such as Devadhanam off Tiruchi-Chennai Bypass Road, Ariyamangalam compost yard on Tiruchi-Thanjavur Road, Ramji Nagar on Tiruchi-Dindigul National Highway, Pirattiyur, Panchapur and, finally, Kottapattu on Pudukottai National Highway. The proposal had even emerged a major issue in recent elections in Tiruchi.
The site at Panchapur was identified during the previous DMK regime over the decade ago. Chief Minister M.K.Stalin had also inspected the site in August 2010 as the then Deputy Chief Minister. But the project failed to take off following the regime change subsequently. However,Municipal Administration Minister K.N.Nehru had remained firm on establishing the bus stand at Panchapur.
City residents are relieved that the project has finally gained a concrete shape. “At last they have decided one way or other; there is no point debating over the suitability of the sites any longer. It is a welcome decision,” said S.Pushpavanam, Secretary, Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu.
Mr.Pushpavanam, however, insisted that the project should be completed within a specific time frame, possibly within two years. “The government should make it a modern facility with good amenities such as electronic information system and other amenities. Shops should be built separately and should not hinder passenger movement. A stakeholders meet should be conducted to consult users on what amenities are required at the facility,” said Mr.Pushpavanam, a long time resident and veteran consumer activist of the city.
N.Ramakrishnan, a civic activist who had long been lobbying for establishing the bus stand at the Mannarupuram Army grounds, observed: “Though I have reservations over the suitability of the Panchapur site, a decision has been made now. We hope the project would be executed after careful planning as it entails a huge investment,” he said. The site, he said, was quite suited for the truck terminal and trucks should not be allowed to be parked elsewhere in the city once the facility is commissioned.
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