THANJAVUR: Great were the expectation of people here as soon as the government announced the 'Smart city' plans for Thanjavur. But now, it is slowly turning to 'smart' them in ways which they never imagined.

While people here welcome the smart city programme, they are unhappy by the way it is being implemented.

They say, for instance, that shifting the old and Thiruvaiyaru bus stand, which are to be reconstructed under the smart city programme to a temporary bus stand from September 8 (Sunday), could have waited till Deepavali (October 27) is over.

Shifting has inconvenienced people and traders. People of the town and surrounding villages do most of their Deepavali shopping on the main Gandhiji road, Keelavasal road and market, east main street, south main street, Rajah Mirasudhar government hospital road, which are around the old and Thiruvaiyaru bus stands.

They alight at the old and Thiruvaiyaru bus stands, walk to the shops, purchase goods and return in buses from the bus stand.

Now, as the bus stand has been shifted to Kasi Pillaiyar Koil street opposite the state transport corporation workshop, they have to hire autorickshaws, share autos or use mini and town buses to come to the old bus stand area, to purchase goods.

Officials say, "Smart city works have to go as per the scheduled time to get funds every year for five years.

The total amount to be spent is nearly '1,000 crore with '250 crore for each year. It is a five year project."

They also say that town buses plying from the temporary bus stand and also route buses from places like Kumbakonam, have been asked to stop at the old bus stand, Rajah Mirasudhar hospital, State Bank of India for the convenience of people.

They can board buses from these places, and also alight in these places, they say.

But with all the recession and fund crunch everywhere, people are now hesitant to shell out extra money.

Many patients, mostly pregnant women and new mothers who visit Rajah Mirasudhar government hospital, also find it difficult to reach the hospital. The old bus stand is very near the hospital, and they can easily go to the hospital as soon as they alight from the bus at the old bus stand.

Elizabeth Mary, a woman from a village near here, was with her two children at the hospital for treatment on Wednesday. She said that she had to hire an autorickshaw to reach the hospital from the temporary bus stand.

Officials, on the other hand, argue that this is only a temporary problem. Moreover, buses have been asked to stop in many places, and a new route has also been given to them, they added.

Janaki Raveendran, Commissioner, Thanjavur city corporation, said that town and route buses have been asked to stop in various places like Kodimarathu Moolai, Vellapillaiyar rountana, South Keel Alankam, GV Theatre, Anna Statue, Rajah Mirasudhar Hospital, State Bank of India, etc. "This will solve the problem of people," she said.

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