While the area resembles a drainage basin during wet weather, it is no good during the dry days as well, drivers said.
While the area resembles a drainage basin during wet weather, it is no good during the dry days as well, drivers said.Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

Parimpora bus stand in shambles

Dilapidated approach road causes inconvenience to commuters

Srinagar: A driver almost runs over a pedestrian while avoiding a manhole around six inches above ground near the entry road for Parimpora bus stand on city outskirts here.

The road, crammed with potholes as big as 13-feet and those potholes saturated with muddy water doesn’t only lead to the bus stand, but is also an approach road for Regional Transport Office’s inspection department, State Road Transport Corporation’s Yard and while it also leads to Asia’s biggest fruit Mandi.

“I am terrified when I am asked to drop a shipment at mandi,” says Mohammad Ashraf, a truck driver from last ten years.

Driving a loaded truck along this stretch is a devil of a job, Ashraf asserts as he spins and bounces on the driver’s seat while controlling the steering wheel of his Heavy Goods Vehicle.

The business of the shopkeepers in the area remains affected due to the battered road, they say.
The business of the shopkeepers in the area remains affected due to the battered road, they say. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

The suspension of loaded trucks often takes a huge blow on this road making them dysfunctional and the vehicle immovable, Ashraf explains.

The drivers then have to call a crane to get their trucks toed and shift them to workshops.

“The repair work takes almost four working days, bringing losses to drivers and those involved in the trade,” Ashraf says while pointing to a paper with “Crane Helpline” and a phone number written on it which he hangs over the Dashboard of his truck.

Since he has been coming here with shipments, Ashraf says the condition of the stretch has always been the same.

With seven crater-sized pot-holes on the one side of the two-lane road, vehicles coming back from Mandi or RTO’s inspection office take the wrong lane, resulting in traffic snarls and affecting the business of shopkeepers along the stretch.

The road as per the locals  remains carpeted with mud when not inundated with water, impeding their movement.
The road as per the locals remains carpeted with mud when not inundated with water, impeding their movement. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

While several of the big pot-holes are oval shaped, over a couple resemble big polygons-stretching over 12-feet in length.

Ironically, vehicle owners who need to do a fitness test of their cars have to drive through this road to reach the RTO’s inspection office.

One such vehicle owner, Ahmad Shafi, appearing panic-gripped while leaving the area, furiously said “Horrible” when asked about the experience of driving through the stretch.

“I came here to increase the fitness of my car, but driving along this road made it more unfit,” Shafi said.

After one passes the approach road and reaches the entry gate to the yard which is also the entry for the inspection office, the struggle to drive safely continues.

The entry gate of RTO's inspection office.
The entry gate of RTO's inspection office. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

Two large banners hanging on each side of the iron gate inform people of road safety measures, however, along with this message, the dilapidated stretch and two fallen black poles with big concrete bases also welcome the drivers.

A couple of metres ahead of the dilapidated stretch, a patch of road appears distended with boulder rocks oozing through the surface.

Approach road to RTO's inspection office
Approach road to RTO's inspection officeHaseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

Few metres ahead in the middle of the road, rocks and boulders are seen on both sides, leaving some seven-feet space in the middle to drive. That space is accumulated with little stones and more rocks. The patch, however, doesn’t lead to a road but to a huge area inundated with water-resembling a swimming pool-all the way to the RTO. 

The approach path to RTO's inspection office is seen submerged.
The approach path to RTO's inspection office is seen submerged. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

Lacking a proper drainage system doesn’t only affect the approach road and the RTO premises but is seriously affecting the services of buses and the bus-stand itself, drivers and union leaders say.

The Parimpora bus-stand, constructed over 60-kanals of land, is in a similar shape as its approach road and the RTO’s inspection office.

While the area resembles a drainage basin during wet weather, it is no good during the dry days as well, drivers said.

A CCTV monitor inside the union leaders' office at Parimpora bus-stand.
A CCTV monitor inside the union leaders' office at Parimpora bus-stand.Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir
Cabs, many of them condemned are seen lined-up in the submerged area adjacent to the SRTC's yard.
Cabs, many of them condemned are seen lined-up in the submerged area adjacent to the SRTC's yard. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

“During rains and snow, the water here assembles over 3-feet, discouraging passengers to enter the stand even as it damages the oil chamber of our buses,” drivers lamented.

Inside the bus-stand, the engine oil spilled from workshops and mud dispensed by the bus tyres have turned the accumulated water dark and murky. The smell of oil and contaminated water fills the air.

Passengers tread through dilapidated, water inundated area to board their respective busses at Parimpora bus-stand.
Passengers tread through dilapidated, water inundated area to board their respective busses at Parimpora bus-stand.Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir
Busses parked at Western-Bus-stand area at Parimpora Bus-stand.
Busses parked at Western-Bus-stand area at Parimpora Bus-stand.Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

The bus stand has two entry points for buses, however, the one on the northern side where buses from western bus-stand are parked is completely submerged, making it purposeless.

Notwithstanding their grievances made to officers from top brass of administration, union leaders say nothing has been done to “ease their miseries.”

A crane moves in the area , a usual scene as loaded trucks and buses often require to be toed after the vehicles break-down due to the dilapidated road.
A crane moves in the area , a usual scene as loaded trucks and buses often require to be toed after the vehicles break-down due to the dilapidated road. Haseeb Ibn Hameed for Greater Kashmir

As per Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) which constructed the much hyped bus stand, SDA has submitted a DPR of RS 9-crores to the administrative department “for the upgradation of infrastructure like macadamisation, drainage system etc.”

When asked about the response to the DPR, SDA’s financial advisor Mohammad Saleem Malik said that he has no information about it and that the department’s Executive Engineer is responsible for it.

This correspondent tried to reach Javaid Hassan Qadri (Executive Engineer SDA) for a comment over the phone, however, received no response.

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