Four-and-a-half years on, the 3.5 crore KTC bus stand at Shiroda, once inaugurated with pomp, is now being used by everyone, except buses.
Locals say the place is a popular haunt for couples, motorists to repair and maintain their vehicles, by young boys playing cricket and others to catch-up in the evenings.
The only regular business being conducted at the bus stand is by an ice cream shop owner. The shop keeper said that the non-operation of the bus stand has affected his business. He added, "The bus stand has no current, thus we have to stop business at sunset. The bus stand lacks almost all amenities and as such, buses do not enter. And neither do customers."
A hawker at the entrance of the bus stand agreed, "The RTO used to make their presence felt for sometime when the bus stand was first inaugurated, but they too disappeared and within months, the bus stand was deserted."
Locals claim that the government seems reluctant to ensure the bus stand is functional even though it is so close to the market, despite the Shiroda market-cum-existing bus stand being crowded during peak hours.
A local resident confirmed that the market area where the old bus stand exists becomes very chaotic during peak hours as there is a primary school there, the village panchayat, a fair price shop, rickshaw and pick-up stand and buses parking and halting for passengers.
It was precisely because of this congestion at the market bus stand way back in 2006, that the then Congress government had acquired agricultural land in the Valpe ward of Shiroda to construct the new bus stand. Then chief minister Pratapsingh Rane had laid the foundation stone for the project on August 19, 2006, in the presence of then panchayati raj minister Subhash Shirodkar.
The Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) had taken up the work of construction of the project which was completed in August 2008. When the project was completed, Shirodkar lost his seat and BJP's Mahadev Naik was elected the MLA of Shiroda.
Later, on August 14, 2008, the bus stand was inaugurated at the hands of former chief minister Digambar Kamat in the presence of transport minister Ramkrishna 'Sudin' Dhavlikar and Naik.
Shirodkar said, "The project is gathering dust due to the inefficiency of the people in charge. The local MLA has failed to ensure the bus stand is operational."
Claiming that the current government has no interest in the welfare of Shiroda locals, Shirodkar said the bus stand must be put to use. "Such projects cannot be ignored. It is hardly 100 to 150m from the old congested bus stand," he said.
Shiroda sarpanch Sandesh Prabhudessai was unavailable for his comment. [TOI]