Karnataka: There is one place where government authorities do not want people to follow social distancing rules and it is in interstate and inter-district Buses.
The state government has allowed the Public Service undertaking (PSUs) and private operators to take bookings for all the seats in the buses that means any stranger can occupy seats next to you in a possible long journey. The action is introduced at a time when the COVID 19 cases are increasing and thus, worried the bus users.
Conditions when COVID 19 cases were low in the state
However, when the COVID 19 cases were low in May, authorities allowed the operators including the state-run Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to run the buses during the day with a maximum of 30 passengers.
Especially, in long-distance buses in which passengers travel long journeys, it was made to ensure that the seats next to passengers were kept unoccupied to ensure a safe distance between the commuters. Curtains were also removed during the journey, so the air can circulate in the bus.
Now, with the new directions, both state-run and private operators can fill all the seats including the sleeper buses. The state has started services between Karnataka and states such as Andhra Pradesh, Goa, and Kerala, and services between Maharashtra and Tamilnadu are yet to start.
Inter-district bus services have also resumed as usual.
What official say about this move?
Anjum Parwez, principal secretary at the Transport department said, “We have consulted the health department before permitting the buses to carry at full capacity. Travelers have to take necessary precautions like wearing a mask and sanitizing the hands throughout the journey. Such permission has not been given to long-distance air-conditioned buses.”
The KSRTC official said that they requested the Karnataka government to allow them to run the buses at full capacity as they were running under loss. A KSRTC official said, ” Our daily ridership is increasing steadily. Now, it stands at 8 Lakhs a day. However, during pre-COVID days, we catered around 30 lakh passengers per day.”
However, not all are happy with this action. Passengers are worried about their health. According to a passenger, he has to wear a mask for nine longs hours although he felt suffocated. He said that the officials are depriving the people of safe travel who don’t have their own vehicles. It shows that the government is not playing its role to control the spread of Coronavirus.