Chennai: The Chennai mofussil bus terminus (CMBT) at Koyambedu, inaugurated in 2002, might be the largest bus terminus in Asia, but it is bursting at the seams now as the arrival of buses has nearly doubled since its inception.
On any given day, the Koyambedu terminus depicts a scene of chaos, cramped with buses and passengers. The terminal that was thought to be an alternative to the Broadway bus stand, is no more the luxury it was a couple of years ago.
After having shelved the Velachery satellite bus terminus project, the much expected mega bus terminal at Madhavaram, aimed at decongesting Koyambedu terminus, has also been deferred by the state government. According to sources, the feasibility report submitted by the firm appointed to conduct the study has suggested that the identified site was not conducive for setting up a bus terminal at this point of time considering the movement of containers along the stretch. However, the CMDA authorities are firm in their decision regarding the proposed bus terminus at Vandalur, near Chennai.
“The facility that was to come up on an 8-acre vacant site at Madhavaram truck terminal has been deferred as it appears to be non-conducive at this point of time,” sources in CMDA told DC.
The consultant — Mahindra — has stated that the project may not be viable as the vehicular traffic, mainly containers, has increased considerably in recent times. They pointed out that the truck traffic would affect the free movement of buses to and from the terminus.
However, the official said the scheme was not shelved and would be taken up after six months. “Once the linking up of Chennai-Kolkata highway (NH5) and work on the outer ring road is completed, truck movement would be reduced along the Madhavaram stretch and the project might take off.”
Last year, CMDA had secured the government’s nod for setting up two terminals at Velachery and Madhavaram at Rs 80 crore to decongest CMBT and nearby stretches. However, the Velachery plan was shelved as it could affect the alignment of the proposed monorail. CMDA has now identified 60 acres near Vandalur to construct a new bus terminus that has evoked opposition from a section of the people. “It is a development work aimed to ease congestion. Hence, it would not be shelved,” the source affirmed.
Roadblock for Vandalur project
The state government’s proposal to construct a mega bus terminal at Vandalur for the southern districts, to decongest the city, has hit a roadblock with residents of the area opposing it.
As the government had put the Velachery bus stand project on hold, with the railways refusing to provide land and the state planning to set up monorail station in the area, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) picked Vandalur for the bus terminus.
But sources in CMDA said it would not be an easy task to acquire land in Vandalur as the locals had raised objections to the project.
“For the past three months, CMDA and revenue department officials have been visiting the Vandalur site and whenever they go there, people express their displeasure as they think the project will disturb the peaceful ambience of the area, and many of them might lose their lands,” the sources said.
D. Gunasekaran, president of Vandalur village panchayat, said CMDA had identified farmlands for the bus terminus project which would not only deprive people of their livelihood but also cut down the greenery.
“When you have more than 100 acres of poramboke land in Kolapakkam, what is the necessity to acquire land in Vandalur?” he wondered.
The government had accorded administrative sanction for bus terminals at Madhavaram and Velachery two years ago, but put the Velachery project on hold as it had planned to construct a monorail station there.
CMDA sources said the Velachery project had been shelved as railways had expressed their inability to provide land which they needed for MRTS expansion. “With no other land left in the area and the government’s proposal to put up a monorail station there, the government has unofficially shelved the project. Instead, it is pushing hard for the Vandalur terminal,” the official said.