Sharmili Mallick

Berhampur: Intensifying their protest over the alleged unilateral decision of the district administration to relocate the bus terminal to Haldiapadar on the city outskirts, over 700 private bus owners across the district on Wednesday joined the stir launched by the Ganjam District Private Bus Operators’ Association.

As a result, private buses plying from Berhampur to Chatrapur, Aska and Bhanjanagar have remained off-roads for an indefinite period leaving the commuters to suffer. However, city buses and Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) buses continued their operations.

"I had plans to go to Bhubaneswar but I'm waiting since 4 AM. I don't see a single bus plying," said a commuter at Haldiapadar Bus Stand.

The association alleged that the administration took an arbitrary decision to shift the bus stand to Haldiapadar without consulting them. Blaming the concerned administration for the impasse, the association said that operating buses from Haldiapadar will be time-consuming and it would also incur a huge loss.

The State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera has also been intimated about the agitation through a letter, said the association during a presser on Tuesday. "Neither the administration nor the association is ready to understand. We told the administration to carry out renovation work on 50 per cent land and allow us to operate private buses in the rest area. However, they are not ready for this, and instead asking us to completely shift to Haldiapadar," said secretary of Ganjam District Private Bus Operators’ Association, Subash Chandra Patnaik.

"We regret the inconvenience caused to the people. But the administration should be held responsible for the same. The concerned administration wants two months time for the renovation of Berhampur New Bus Stand. Therefore, we should be given parking place nearby dumping yard or Hata Padia or close to NISER," demanded a member of the association, Santosh Kumar Palai.