Thousands leave Bengaluru before 14-day lockdown | Bengaluru News – Times of India
Buses filled up quickly. Tempos also ferried migrants and their belongings
BENGALURU: Thousands of people, including migrant workers, left the city on Tuesday, hours before the two-week lockdown came into force. Though there was a rush at bus terminals and railway stations, things were not as bad as last year, when many poor migrants were forced to undertake difficult journeys on foot to reach their hometowns.
KSRTC ran 625 additional buses from Bengaluru till 9pm, but they were not enough. Many people had to depend on private buses, which, like last year, charged more than three times the normal fare. One operator demanded Rs 6,667 for a seat on an AC sleeper bus from Bengaluru to Belagavi and Hubballi on Tuesday night. The rate was displayed on ticket booking sites, but no action was taken against the operator. Normally, the journey costs around Rs 1,000.
“KSRTC is not running adequate services, so there is a demand for private buses. Most passengers want to reach their native place before the lockdown begins and these operators are exploiting the situation,” said K Ravi, who was travelling to Hubballi.
There was some chaos at Majestic as thousands of people tried to board buses. Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing went for a toss. Many operators ran overcrowded buses, violating the guidelines.
Manjunath S, his wife and six-year-old daughter took a bus to Koppal from Majestic. “Earlier, the government said that there won’t be any lockdown. But now, they have announced a 14-day lockdown. There is no assurance that it won’t get extended. We cannot stay here without jobs. How will we survive without food and money, and who will take care of us if something happens? We will be safe in our hometown,” he said.
Another migrant worker, Anita K, left for Belagavi. “We would have stayed had the government provided some financial assistance. We will die of hunger or the virus if we stay here,” she said.
Deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi, who holds the transport portfolio, visited Majestic and said that additional buses had been deployed.
Trucks and tempos carrying luggage and household goods were seen on Mysuru Road, Tumakuru Road, Hosur Road and Old Madras Road.
KSR Bengaluru City and Yeshwantpur railway stations also saw crowding. People with tickets for trains departing on Wednesday morning showed up several hours before schedule. Most said that they arrived early as they didn’t know if they would get a ride to the station or encounter police checkpoints once the lockdown began. Government authorities said that people with valid tickets were allowed to take cabs and autos to railway stations.
Officials of South Western Railway (SWR) said that it was running 10 pairs of additional trains to places such as Muzaffarpur, Guwahati, Howrah, Tata Nagar, Agartala and Delhi. “Train services scheduled are allowed to run as per the order of the state government. SWR is prepared to run additional trains based on the demand,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, KSRTC said that its Flybus services would run from the Kempegowda International Airport to Mysuru and Madikeri. During the lockdown, BMTC plans to run 156 buses between 6am and 7pm for essential workers and six Vayuvajra buses for airport-bound passengers. Services for the general public will remain suspended till 6am on May 12.