K’taka announces free bus travel for labourers, Cong lends a hand

Thousands of labourers on Saturday expressed the inability to pay the higher fare that was fixed for commuting in KSRTC buses

The passengers would also be subjected to screening to detect if they have any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever | Prabhu Mallikarjunan/ The Federal

After letting down its migrant workers by charging exorbitant travelling fares, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday (May 3) said free bus services would be operated for three days from Sunday for stranded workers to reach their native places.

The expenses will be borne by the government, he said appealing to the people to make use of the opportunity that will be available till Tuesday and not to create rush at bus
stands.

“Keeping in mind the situation of poor labourers, forthree days from today, free KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) bus facilities will be made available
for those travelling to their native places in Karnataka from various district headquarters and capital Bengaluru city,” the Chief Minister said in a statement.

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The move came amid complaints that the fare charged by the state-run transport corporation was too high. The high fare, fixed since the buses were operated on a contract basis and not as regular services, also drew criticism from various quarters including opposition parties.

Congress lends helping hands

State Congress President DK Shivakumar said the party was contributing ₹1 crore to the transport corporation for ensuring free travel to the workers and said if the government wanted more funds would be made available. Allowing one-time inter state and inter district movement of those stranded, the government had earlier said, those
wanting to travel will have to bear the travel expenses, and buses will be made available if required.

Related news | Karnataka charges exorbitant bus fares, pushes migrants into debt trap

Thousands of labourers on Saturday expressed the inability to pay the higher fare that was fixed for commuting in KSRTC buses as the services were being arranged on a
contract basis.

However, following the intervention of the Chief Ministerlater it was decided to charge single fare tariff for workers travelling by KSRTC buses within the state.

In further relief, Yediyurappa issued orders on Sunday making it free travel.

Officials said buses will be available from 10 am to 6 pmat the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporations bus stand at Majestic here and requested the public to maintain
social distancing while coming to board the buses.

The passengers would also be subjected to screening to detect if they have any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever.

There are adequate number of buses for travel, and required health check up will be made before boarding the bus, the officials said.

“No one will be allowed to get down from the bus in between and all passengers will be dropped at designated bus stand, where once again health checkup will be done and home
quarantine related information will be give,” they added.

Shivakumar tweeted: “Giving Rs 1 crore cheque to KSRTC from the KPCC for ensuring free transport to our working class & labour people who are suffering to reach home because of the rates being charged by the Karnataka Govt. Govt should let us know if they need more, the KPCC will fulfill that as well.”

“Bus facilities for those wanting to go home have been very inadequate. Thousands are suffering without food & water at bus stands. Karnataka Govt must wake up to their
sufferings,” he said in another tweet.

Earlier today (May 3), Congress leaders Siddaramiah, Dinesh Gundurao and D K Shivakumar, Saleem Ahmed visited Kempegowda bus stand to listen the plights of stranded workers.

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