Though the town bus stand was fully utilised by long-distance mofussil and town buses, the situation changed when the National Highways Authority of India built the Vellore–Bengaluru national highway outside the town resulting in buses having to take a detour to enter the town and its bus stand.
“As most long-distance customers prefer a continuous journey we are forced to skip the town bus stand but offload Vaniyambadi passengers on the flyover near the municipal office,” said a TNSTC conductor seeking anonymity.
Refuting this Naushad Ahamed, a resident, said “even when getting into a long-distance bus at Vellore, conductors specifically state that the bus will not take passengers for Vaniyambadi. Also as most long-distance buses have included the word ‘flyover service’ in their permit conditions, they prefer not to stop at the flyover to offload Vaniyambadi passengers and thus have got away with this ruse for years.”
It was to overcome such problems that the then Vellore district administration constructed a Rs 3.75 crore additional bus stand abutting the national highway.
Though completed, the terminus could not be used as NHAI officials refused to provide the necessary permission to build a road connecting the NH with the terminus.
“And so not only has government money been wasted due to officials not applying their minds, local passengers have to make do with using private services which are the only ones to enter the town to offload Vaniyambadi passengers,” said a retired government official.
However, as these buses ply only between Vellore and Tirupattur, they prefer to stop at all wayside stops in the 72 odd kilometre journey to Vaniyambadi from Vellore which consumes more time, locals aver.
When asked Collector MP Sivan Arul said “in addition to the NHAI issue, the new facility was also bogged in accusations that the terminus was shifted out of town at the behest of real estate developers for their benefit. However, we are now holding talks with NHAI to see if a solution is possible. Also as a temporary measure, local officials have been asked to find out whether a portion of the local weekly shandy can be used as a bus stand.”