Belying expectations of the police and railway personnel that the number of people from the northeast States fleeing Bangalore would plummet by Friday, more than 12,000 people left the city as of Friday midnight, the highest since Wednesday when the exodus began.
The first special train left at 4 p.m. with almost 3,500 people onboard and the numbers swelled by late evening. Groups of young people from the northeast, not only from Bangalore but also from neighbouring towns as well as places like Hosur, swarmed the City Railway Station. The incessant late evening rain did not deter them from coming in groups.
The visit of two Assam Ministers and their appeal to them not to flee appeared to have had little impact as they made a dash for the train as soon as the Ministers left.
According to N. Ramesh, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, South Western Railway, Bangalore, 12,659 tickets were issued to the northeast region, including 11,230 to Guwahati, by 11 p.m.
About 15,000 tickets were issued on Wednesday and Thursday. Home Minister R. Ashok told presspersons at the railway station that some 16,000 people had left Bangalore since Wednesday. Taking Friday’s numbers, the total numbers have crossed 28,000.
Senior Divisional Operations Manager Praveen Pande said the first two special trains carried almost 3,500 people each. Another special was due at 10 p.m. followed by the regular Bangalore-Guwahati Express. “We hope that all these should be sufficient to clear the rush. We may have to plan special trains for Saturday if there are more people.” he said.
Volunteers of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh continued their service on Friday too, providing food and water to the people.
After the last special train of Thursday left Bangalore City Station at 1 a.m. on Friday, the entry and exit, parking lot, the front façade and the passenger concourse resembled a garbage dump.
Polythene bags, paper covers, used paper plates and other debris were strewn around the station. Senior DCM Ramesh told The Hindu that he drew Mr. Ashok’s attention to the mess and requested him to arrange for cleaning of the premises.
The Minister was prompt in directing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to complete the task.