Vice president of the state Mahila Congress, J Krishnaveni said, “As many as 3000 students from 10 schools within the town limit, use the Pernambut bus stand for transportation and this current change in the location would affect the conveyance of the students. Also the government hospitals and markets are located in the limits of the Pernambut area, hence, patients and farmers would be forced to spend money on autos to reach their destination if the bus stand is shifted to the proposed site, located outside the town limits. Also, private and commercial banks will become distant for the commuters.”
It is noted that the planned location is nearly 400 metres inside a shopping complex layout. “In the proposed one acre of the land, one of the 50-foot-wide roads will be reduced to 20 foot with the shops and parked vehicles encroaching the road,” Krishnaveni added.
Pernambut bus stand retrieval committee president G Suresh Kumar speaking to DT Next said, “We never demanded the bus stand to be shifted. However, those in power wanting to please the ruling party cadres have mooted a location in Sathgar village panchayat.”
Echoing him, consumer protection and welfare committee president T Basheeruddin said, “Four former MLAs, four former municipal chairmen, 16 former ward councilors and members of various trade and transport associations have given in writing for the bus stand to function in the same place and not to be shifted. Despite the petitions, the district administration is trying to shift the bus stand to a completely unsuitable location.”
In the last year, nearly 22 agitations were conducted by the bus stand retrieval committee. “The officialdom is stubborn since the proposed site is close to the Block Development Office and taluk offices. However, they fail to keep in mind that the residential areas are far away. The last bus from Chennai reaches the town at 2 am and the plight of the passengers who have to use the autos to reach home can only be imagined,” said T Mutharasan, secretary, town youth social association.
Slamming the collector for failing to take their voices into consideration, Basheeruddin said, “Though we offered alternatives, we were shouted down at the three public hearings including one held at the Vellore collector’s office where instead of asking for our opinion, collector SA Raman only highlighted the advantages of moving to the new site.”
Pressing that they need a bus stand within the town limits, Suresh Kumar said, “The current Pernambut bus stand is near the police station so if the police station is moved to a location near the police quarters, nearly 30 cents of land will become vacant. This move can help in the widening of the bus stand and the extended bus stand can be used for the next 50 years. If not, they can also shift the bus stand to another vacant land within the city limits.”
“More than 100 feet in the proposed site is not approved by government and the RTI queries on this issue do not provide satisfactory answers,” Suresh Kumar added.
Meanwhile the officials have erected an arch at the entrance of the site and named it after former CM Jayalalithaa.
“If land is the criterion then the 1.5 acre of land in the old hospital premises will be sufficient,” said Krishnaveni. AMMK leader TTV Dinakaran has also planned for an agitation on this issue in the first week of March. “Lack of an MLA (since, Gudiyattam MLA Jayanthi Padmanabhan belonging to the TTV Dinakaran camp was disqualified) has led to a major confusion,” said Vellore consumer federation president K Sathiyamoorthy.
“If the bus stand is shifted, it will meet the same fate as the new Vaniyambadi bus stand which is avoided by the public, who continue to use the old terminus,” said Suresh Kumar.
The aggrieved pubic have also not yet ruled out recourse to court if all else fails.