Notwithstanding steady arrival of visitors to the lush green Tropical Butterfly Conservatory at Srirangam that was thrown open by the Forest Department over three years ago, the popular tourist spot continues to lack bus connectivity.
The demand for operation of state-owned bus service to the butterfly conservatory has now resurfaced after the recent black-topping of the stretch of a few kilometres from Melur village to the conservatory by the Public Works Department. The new road which leads to the conservatory has been laid to a distance of nearly 2.4 kilometres along the ‘Srirangam Nattu Vaikkal’ from Melur village.
A senior PWD official said the road has been widened to enable free movement of buses as well. The nearly 20-feet road has been laid at an estimated cost of ₹1.93 crore for the benefit of the visitors coming to the conservatory every day.
Presently, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operates bus service at regular intervals every day up to Melur village from the Central bus stand. The mini bus being operated to the conservatory from Srirangam daily is unable to transport public in good numbers.
With the new road having been laid, the public demand for operation of bus services by the transport corporation to the conservatory has gained ground since the distance from Melur village to the popular tourist spot was hardly 2.4 kilometres. Visitors right now come in their own vehicle or hired cabs and autos to the conservatory spread over an area of 25 acres and sandwiched between the Cauvery and the Coleroon rivers.
Visitors are forced to shell out nearly ₹200 (one-way) while engaging autorickshaws to the conservatory from Srirangam for a distance of about six kilometres, says R. Muthukannu, who resides near Melur village. The State Transport Corporation could extend the Melur service up to the butterfly conservatory now that a proper road had been laid, says Mr. Muthukannu.
Given the steady arrival of visitors to the conservatory, the transport corporation could at least explore the possibility of operating buses to the conservatory on weekends when the footfalls are high. This could generate revenue for the transport corporation, feel residents. “It is the right time to start the bus service with summer holidays all set to commence soon when the footfalls are only expected to rise further,” they point out.
Established by the Forest Department, the conservatory had seen over 8 lakh footfalls since November 2015 when it was thrown open to visitors by the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.