A Forgotten Landmark
Posted: Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 | Posted by: Ashish Rao | Views: 14823
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A visit to the Mangaladevi temple on Fridays and Tuesdays and you can see why there is so much of a crowd. Few meters away from the temple lies an open space which was meant to be a bus stand for local buses. But ironically this bus stand instead of serving passengers attends to spoilt buses. It has been functioning as a garage for many years now.

The bus stand was constructed by the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) two years ago and was also inaugurated in great style. But you see now are parked buses and spoilt automobile machinery waiting for their turn to be attended to. An entire garrage operates from this premises. The plan to make a bus stand here was initiated by the Town Planning authorities keeping in mind the overcrowded situation with buses and people in front of the temple. It is on these two days that the influx of devotees is more than normal days.
Ex Corporator Namitha D Rao was in power during 2007. She took the initiative in renewing and getting this bus stand functional. The idea was to make buses proceed towards the new Monkey stand bus stop from the front of the temple so that congestion and crowding would not disturb the public. Commuters who traveled by bus could easily alight from their buses without much hassle. But once the bus stand began to function bus owners and drivers persisted halting at their old spot. To make matters even more congested a garage owner uses part of the bus stop as his work area and runs a garage without a care. However , his claims of owning part of the property cannot be argued against.

The person I met, who runs the garage has been the owner of the garage since many years. Although a part of his garage encroaches the bus stand area he does not care. He says,” We have been repairing automobiles much before a plan to construct the bus stop was made. So how can we move away from here ?” After the new monkey stand bus stop was made functional bus drivers complained that the space allotted to them was not enough and reverted to using the old bus stop instead. If more buses approached , then the area became even more congested. They also complained that the bus stand did not have enough space if more buses approached the area. Also, during the nights buses which travel out of Mangalore used the space for unauthorized parking. The monkey stand bus stop was inaugurated in 2007. Issues of concern were informed to the RTO, Corporation authorities and the police.

The MCC cooperated by putting tar on the area. It also laid out an approach road to the garage workers. Built at a cost of Rs 1,00,000 a shelter for passengers was also sanctioned. But by the time Namitha could act on the proposed plans her term at the corporation ended. The corporation had widened some roads which facilitated easy access to the homes nearby.After the then D.C. Bharath Lal Mina issued a notification RTACR 23/2004-05 an electric transformer was also relocated.An estimation cost of constructing an  urinal was also made. Despite all these collective efforts , functioning of the bus stop did not happen. However for a few days the when the bus stop began functioning it  was mismanaged as not a single traffic constable was deputed to that area. The traffic police cited reasons of not having staff.

Despite repeated attempts made by Namitha and her husband Dinesh Rao authorities made no response. They contacted the Town planning section to remove toddy shops ,engineering section to shift transformers and cut trees, revenue section for constructing the bus stop.Although they had public support no PIL was filed. But even when all this was done , the garage owners did not move away as they claimed ownership of the land. The Rickshaws of the  started using a bulk of the space for their stand. When Namitha’s term ended in June 2007 there was no action for three months till the re-election in September 2007. The new corporators took no initiative. Some tenders  were issued to ad agencies to put up ads around the area.

As  it stands today, the monkey stand bus stop is being used as a mini highway and buses still stop opposite the temple paving the way for traffic jams and crowded areas of devotees. Although there is still some support from the public to renew the bus stand lack of initiative from the corporation has rendered this 25 cents of land useless. It is still a garage and parking lot for heavy vehicles.
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