The 48-hour Krishna district bandh, from the early hours of Wednesday, called by all the Joint Action Committees in protest against the proposed bifurcation of the State has hit hard the passengers commuting by trains from various places.
The worst affected were the residential students of Junior Intermediate who had gone to their respective hometowns for the Vinayaka Chavithi celebrations. Many of the students, who were returning to the city from Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Rajahmundry, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam were stranded for hours at the Vijayawada Railway Station.
Jyotsna, who hails from Visakhapatnam and is in her second-year Intermediate, at a corporate college here, said, “I and a couple of my classmates had gone to celebrate Vinayaka puja to our homes in Visakhapatnam. We delayed our trip by a day as we did not getting train tickets on Tuesday. The train was the only option, as the APSRTC buses were on strike and we were caught on the wrong foot due to the bandh. None of the autorickshaws drivers were ready to ferry us to our campus and the few that had agreed demanded exorbitant charges. They were demanding Rs.300 against Rs.60 on normal days.”
The Vijayawada Railway Station handles about 180 to 200 passenger, express and superfast trains, recording a footfall of over 2 lakh passengers. As the autorickshaw drivers were reluctant to ferry the passengers, many students, a few accompanied by their parents, were seen trudging along the Eluru and Bandar Roads to their campuses braving the incessant rain that added to their woes.
Expressing displeasure at the inconvenience, a first-year Intermediate student Ch. Srinivas along with two of his friends lamented, “Bandh is no solution to Samaikyandhra. Why should we be inconvenienced? If they (JACs) intend to send a strong message, then they should do something so that the politicians or the leaders from Telangana are hassled.”
Apart from the students, others also had a torrid time finding means to reach home. While a few were seen calling frantically their friends and relatives for emergency service, a few paid the high fares demanded by ‘auto-wallahs’ and a few, especially the old who were not in a position to pay the high fares, were seen squatting on the platforms, hopping that normality would return by evening.