Hyderabad will soon lose one of its unique structures if the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) authorities do not act quickly.
With gaping holes being enlarged by rust, the Central Bus Station ‘Mississippi’ hangar at Gowliguda is well on its way to being extinct.
The APSRTC authorities had in January 2005 shifted the workshop which had been set up in 1994. The bus service to districts was shifted to the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, Imlibun that year.
The authorities had, while throwing open the shelter for city buses, made numerous promises, including construction toilets and the opening of a canteen there.
That was in 2005. Five and a half years down the line, the gap between promises and performance is too glaring to miss.
Even during the day, the centre of the bus shelter is in darkness due to the absence of artificial lighting. Sunlight does manage to make its way down the shelter through the gaping holes in the shelter’s roof, but so does rain water.
Stagnant water is visible at most of the bus alighting points inside the shelter since there is no outlet. The state of affairs can be gauged by the fact that mosquito larva can be seen in the pools of water if the sunlight does fall on these through the gaping holes.
The total lack of any attention to the historic bus shelter is evident by the fact that stray dogs are visible during the day while the nights are used as a make-shift bar.
The bus shelter was constructed in 1953 by the Nizam State Road Transport Corporation as a city bus station.
According to Station Master Mohammed Ghouse, 361 buses from various depots pass through the shelter each day, a cumulative total of over a thousand trips.
Four Home Guards are assigned to provide security to the mammoth shelter, which by itself is an architectural marvel.
The lack of adequate security has given rise to complaints that pickpockets, chain-snatchers, vagabonds, drunks and other anti-social elements lurking in the shelter.
Bus passengers who had utilised the shelter when it served as an alighting point of district buses recall that there were no security problems in those days. Passengers are afraid to use the shelter, particularly at night due to the fear of becoming the victims of petty criminals there.