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Destination work

FORTY WINKS A time to catch up on the daily news, correspondence, office work or a short nap

FORTY WINKS A time to catch up on the daily news, correspondence, office work or a short nap  

The cosy comforts of city life are so alluring for some people that they overlook the strain of long travelling everyday for work, observes R. BALAJI

Time: 7.45 a.m.

Place: Secunderabad Railway Station

Location: Platform No. 6

The Thungabhadra Express is all set to leave the platform. There is a palpable tension among a group of 40 to 50 well-dressed persons, both men and women, who quickly scurry into the general compartment bogeys to grab the vacant seats. While the sprightly ones manage to squeeze their way through the milling crowd for their seats, the relatively less agile ones fling their handkerchiefs and haversacks through the grilled windows to stake their claims. A few others are content standing on the footboard. A few minutes later, as the train starts chugging along its path, the initial tension gives way for a more relaxed assemblage. If a couple of them get engrossed with their newspapers and periodicals, the familiar faces settle down for some chat.Well, the men and women in question belong to the new generation of employees who do not mind taking the arduous way of catching packed trains and buses to commute long distances for hours at a stretch, reach their workplaces, and yet be back home by the same night. For them what matters is to remain in the city with their families. To achieve that objective, they are willing to travel four to eight hours every day.

The list includes Government employees, lecturers, doctors, sales executives and other private employees. The Thunghabhadra Express travels between Hyderabad and Kurnool via Mahaboobnagar covering a distance of nearly 250 kilometres over four hours. It takes about two-and-half hours for the train to reach Mahaboobnagar. Most of these passengers are employed in different Government offices, colleges, schools, hospitals and banks in Mahboobnagar and surrounding municipalities.

But the trend is not confined to Mahaboobnagar alone. You can find such regular pliers between the city and neighbouring districts of Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Nizamabad. A few hundreds also come from these districts everyday to the city for their livelihood.

The rapid expansion of inter-city trains and RTC buses operating from the city every one hour has only made their task all the more easier. This apart, there are several hundreds of students from the city pursuing courses in medical, engineering and other streams in the neighbouring districts. Most of the colleges operate their own buses between the city and the districts.

"Though it is quite tedious to travel four hours everyday, we spend our time chatting, studying and also taking a nap," says Swetha Chowhan, a first-year B.Tech student of Vatsalaya College of Science and Technology, Bhongir, Nalgonda.

Swetha's college starts at 9.30 am, for which she boards the college bus at 7 a.m in Secunderabad. It is 6.30 p.m. or 7 p.m. by the time she is back home.

In the case of B. Vijay Kumar, a salesman of Vajra Medical Hall, Vidyanagar, he travels every day from his house in Bhongir to the city to work. "My employer is liberal by allowing me to leave the shop two hours in advance for me to reach home in time," he says. According to him, there are no good employment opportunities in Nalgonda, because of which he travels to the city to work.

Though travelling six to eight hours everyday involves considerable strain, the men and women are only too willing to endure the same. That's because they would rather prefer to have their "home, sweet home" and families in the city.

"Besides availability of good education for the children, the fact that you stay with the family and can enjoy the cosy comforts of city life are too tempting; that's why people do not mind travelling such long distances," says Sunitha, lecturer in a government junior college..

A senior All India Radio official admitted that as per rules, it is mandatory for the Government employees to stay at their place of posting only. But since most of them have their houses and families in the city, they prefer to shuttle long distances. Apart from this, Government employees are liable for transfer every three years.

"As such, we cannot keep on moving with the families after every transfer," says an official to justify the trend.

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