Anil Kumar Sastry and K.V. Subramanya
Road and rail services feel the brunt as Andhra Pradesh unrest continues
KSRTC has suspended all services to Andhra Pradesh
Railways facing fall in load factor
BANGALORE: The prevailing unrest in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh over the Telangana issue has dealt a severe blow to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and the Railways, even as the airfares between Bangalore and Hyderabad have witnessed a steep rise.
This has put the aam aadmi, who depends either on road or rail travel, in severe discomfort. Those who have no option but to travel to Hyderabad are shelling an extra buck to get flight tickets that have become dearer because of non-availability of seats.
While KSRTC is unable to operate its 392 services to various destinations in Andhra Pradesh, the Railways, not having cancelled any train service, has been facing decreased load factor. Inter-State buses make trips till the Andhra border and return to the originating point.
KSRTC Managing Director Gaurav Gupta told The Hindu that it was for the eleventh consecutive day that the corporation was unable to operate its services to Andhra Pradesh. The revenue loss alone comes to around Rs. 35 lakh to Rs. 40 lakh a day, besides the loss of man-hours and loss due to underutilisation of the fleet, Mr. Gupta said.
Chief Traffic Manager Dastagir Sharief said of the 392 services to Andhra Pradesh, 39 are Airawat (Volvo), two Ambari (air-conditioned sleeper coaches) and 45 Rajahamsa services. Though services to Pavagada in Tumkur district were disrupted initially, normality has been restored, Mr. Sharief added. Buses to Pavagada have to pass through Madakashira in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, which has been witnessing high-voltage unrest.
“This is the third and longest disruption of services to Andhra Pradesh during this year,” Mr. Gupta said. Bus services were disrupted for a couple of days after the death of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy. Again, there were disruptions during the north Karnataka floods.
On the other hand, the Railways has been witnessing enmass cancellation of tickets owing to the unrest in Andhra Pradesh, said Praveen Pandey, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bangalore Division of South Western Railway.
People travelling in groups have been cancelling their journey and the occupancy rate has come down by over 30 per cent, he said.
This is despite the Railways operating the services as usual without any disruption, he added. Mr. Pandey said the revenue loss could not be quantified at this point.