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Poor people, migrant workers worst-hit by AP unrest

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Hard life: People with luggage taking share autos at Kalikoil, in Krishnagiri district, to reach Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh. —
Hard life: People with luggage taking share autos at Kalikoil, in Krishnagiri district, to reach Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh. —

R. Arivanantham

KRISHNAGIRI: As the unrest in Andhra Pradesh entered sixth day on Wednesday, public transport was completely stopped on State border, near Kalikoil. Poor people and migrant workers from the State who reached the border were fleeced by share auto drivers to be taken to Kuppam in the neighbouring State.

After the protest in Andhra Pradesh turned violent, buses were being operated with skeletal strength up to the border village Kalikoil. Labourers and regular patients to PES Medical College Hospital, near Kuppam, from Krishnagiri district are dependent on share autos, the only safe mode of transport.

As many as 15 to 20 share autos were being operated between the By-Pass Road in Kuppam and Kalikoil. They charged Rs. 45 to Rs. 50 during the first two days and reduced the fare to Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 on Wednesday. At least 25 per cent of the autos do not have proper registration numbers.

The PES Medical College Hospital is operating three buses daily from Dharmapuri via Krishnagiri for the poor patients. Due to the protest, poor patients are the worst affected as they had no other go but to depend only on private conveyance.

Apart from the college students, normally 200 to 300 people are going to the hospital for treatment daily.

The TNSTC, Salem division, was operating 22 trips, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) 28 trips and private buses nine trips daily from Krishnagiri to Kuppam. APSRTC buses were off the road completely.

A ‘TNSTC’ official told ‘The Hindu’ that the corporation was operating two trips daily up to Kalikoil and also special services depending on the situation. For operating one trip to Kalikoil from Krishnagiri, the collection should be above Rs. 300 so that there was no loss - no profit, he added.

B. Arun Kumar, an agriculturist from Sodiganapallur village near Kuppam, took two hours to reach Krishnagiri via Veppanahalli in a tempo van. If he had got direct bus service via Kalikoil, he would have reached the place in an hour.

A forest guard at the check-post at Kalikoil said that lorry traffic was completely stopped on the busy route. Only vegetable and milk lorries were being allowed up to Kuppam.

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