Karnataka

Free bus service for migrant workers extended till Thursday

Migrant workers waiting to board buses to Chikkabanavara railway station, in Bengaluru on Monday, to catch the special trains to their hometowns; (below) workers arriving at the Majestic bus stand.

Migrant workers waiting to board buses to Chikkabanavara railway station, in Bengaluru on Monday, to catch the special trains to their hometowns; (below) workers arriving at the Majestic bus stand.  

It aims at discouraging people from turning up in large numbers at Majestic bus stand, endangering social distancing norms

As thousands continued to throng the Majestic bus stand to get home, the State government extended the free bus service for stranded migrant workers till Thursday.

The extension aims at discouraging people from turning up in large numbers at the Majestic bus stand, endangering social distancing norms.

On Monday, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said the extension of free bus travel has been done for the benefit of migrant workers and appealed to them to make use of the facility by not gathering in large numbers. Earlier, the State government had announced that free bus travel would be available till Tuesday.

On Sunday, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operated 500 ‘Karnataka Sarige’ buses till late night and close to 15,000 people travelled. On Monday too, thousands reached Majestic bus stand to catch a bus home. In the absence of transportation facilities, people walked miles to reach the bus stand.

Veerupaksha, a migrant worker said: “By the time I reached the bus stop, there were hundreds of people waiting. After reaching the designated platform, I had to wait for more than an hour to board the bus.” Thousands ofpeople were seen walking from Metro entry point opposite railway station to the Majestic BMTC bus stand where buses are operated to various destinations.

A KSRTC official said that not only migrant workers, but others too have been using the free facilities. “Free bus travel is primarily meant for transportation of migrant workers but hundreds of other people are using the facility to reach their hometowns. It is very difficult to differentiate them. We are hoping that from Tuesday, the number of people coming to Majestic bus stand will drop.”

On Monday, the KSRTC operated 800 buses from the point and more than 24,000 people travelled to 101 destinations. A total of 1,000 buses were operated across the State.

Pricey deal for other State workers

Migrant workers from other States who are travelling in the ‘Shramik train’ to reach their hometowns are shelling out huge sums. Each passenger is paying between ₹990 and ₹1,150 depending on the destination and the price includes ₹130 BMTC bus fare for transporting them from their camps to the railway station.

The South Western Railway (SWR) operated two trains on Monday — one from Chikkabanavara to Jaipur and the other from Malur to Danapur.

The State government has directed the BMTC to collect rail and bus ticket fares from the migrant workers. Close to 100 buses were operated from various camps such as Yelahanka, Palace Grounds, Baiyappanahalli, and Marathahalli. A BMTC official said that after de-boarding the migrant workers at the railway station, money collected from them towards the rail ticket would will be paid to SWR officials.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:15:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/free-bus-service-for-migrant-workers-extended-till-thursday/article31504847.ece

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