DIBRUGARH, July 25 � Although a sprawling building has come up at the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) bus station at Chowkidinghee here, it appears that no meaningful plan has been chalked out to utilise the potential of the property to enhance revenue generation by the State public sector company.
The foundation stone of a handloom trade centre on the western side of the road leading to the Shankardev Railway Colony was also laid in December last year.
The total land belonging to the ASTC starting from the Milan Nagar Police Outpost building to the eastern side of the road leading to the Shankardev Railway Colony measures more than four bighas, which at present provides space to more than 20 shops and six staff quarters. This plot of land at Chowkidinghee and another plot at Thana Chariali, if used prudently, may become a major source of revenue for the ASTC and at the same time provide valuable utility services to the public.
�If multi-storeyed market complexes with ground floors as city bus stands and car parking places are constructed at both these prime locations, it would certainly provide a means of livelihood to more than 100 unemployed youths, apart from generating huge revenue for the ASTC,� Ripon Borah, district president of the All Assam Nibonua Parishad, said.
Moreover, among some 26 shops operating from the ASTC premises, only a few are paying the monthly rent at the rate of Rs 5 per square foot, revised with effect from January, 2008. The rest have approached the court, refusing to pay the revised rate of rent till date.
�The ASTC had revised the rent for all the shops as the monthly rent amounting to Rs 100 or Rs 120 per shop was found insufficient in the present inflationary times. The majority of the shopkeepers have lodged court cases and have reportedly been depositing the rent at the old rates in the court as the ASTC has refused to accept the old rates,� Hareshwar Daimari, Superintendent of the ASTC here, told this correspondent. Besides, the shopkeepers have reportedly refused to shift to the new market area constructed for them by the ASTC within the bus station building campus.
At the ASTC bus station at Chowkidinghee, provision exists for the parking of only five buses. Most day and night buses that originate, terminate and pass through the station have to be parked outside, forcing the passengers to board and disembark outside the ASTC premises even in heavy rains. There is ample space for a shed towards the western side of the station building to accommodate at least eight to ten buses. If the shed is constructed, it would provide the passengers the much-needed amenities at the station.
Dibrugarh is the junction for all buses connecting eastern and western Assam. Moreover, the Bogibeel bridge will also provide road connectivity to the north of the Brahmaputra river from here. Hence, a regional or zonal office of the ASTC comprising the districts of Jorhat, Sivasagar, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Dhemaji and Lakhimpur should be set up here to streamline the bus services, a section of socially conscious residents here opined.