The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) began allowing people to take government buses from Sunday onwards for free. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has put out a tweet on Sunday morning stating that all migrants from within the state are free to take buses back home from Bengaluru city.
The buses are free for the next three days, that is until Tuesday, May 5. This move especially applies to those who are daily wage workers.
"Workers and poor daily wage workers have an opportunity to travel for free in KSRTC buses from Sunday to Tuesday. These KSRTC buses can be taken from Bengaluru or the district capitals to their native places which is free for everyone. This will be paid for by the government. Please wear masks. Maintain social distance. Please make use of this facility," BS Yediyurappa tweeted.
Majestic bust stand right now. Announcement being made that bus travel to their homes is free. Absolutely welcome decision. Now to declare all train travel by inter -state migrant workers free as well. @aicctukar @vinaysreeni pic.twitter.com/8NMJMyUGdcâ€” Clifton D' Rozario (@clifroz) May 3, 2020
The state governmentâ€™s directive comes after immense public pressure and criticism. The migrant labourers who have had no work for more than a month were being forced to pay double or triple the rates for a single ticket. Moreover, KSRTC had said that they will run buses only if there were more than 30 passengers on one route.
The issue was also taken up by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) leader DK Shivakumar, who spoke for stranded citizens who were being forced to pay exorbitant fares for passage back to their hometowns.
DK Shivakumar had also given a cheque of Rs 1 crore to KSRTC on behalf of KPCC. Along with a video message posted on Facebook, the leader wrote, â€śGiving â‚ą1 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 fulfil that as well.â€ť (sic)
â€śThe government can afford flights but cannot afford to send back the poor Karnataka people to their families,â€ť he said in a video message. He had also said that â€śthe government was the one that put the lockdown in place and it should not penalise the poor for it.â€ť He had also threatened to begin a massive protest against the state government if it did not address the issue.
â€śIs the government so poor? Migrants have no earnings, theyâ€™re dying of poverty. Donâ€™t make them pay to get back to their villages,â€ť @DKShivakumar tells @BSYBJP & @LaxmanSavadi. @DeccanHerald pic.twitter.com/qKzuuy2fmvâ€” Bharath Joshi (@bharathjoshi) May 1, 2020