With thousands of families living in Hyderabad heading to their native places in both the Telugu states for Sankranti, the Telangana government on Saturday decided to waive toll tax for commuters on national highways.
Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi issued instructions to waive off the toll gates charges to the commuters on national highways to and fro from Hyderabad on January 13 and January 16, a day before and a day after the three-day festival, according to an official release.
The move is expected to provide relief to many families travelling to their native towns and villages in Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. It will ease long traffic snarls seen at the toll gates on Hyderabad-Vijayawada, Hyderabad-Warangal and other highways since Friday night.
Hundreds of four-wheelers were waiting at the toll gates for their turn, slowing down the movement of vehicles on the highways.
Sankranti is a major harvest festival of Telugu people. Thousands employed in Hyderabad head to their homes in towns and villages.
South Central Railway (SCR) and Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) were operating special trains and buses respectively between Hyderabad and other destinations to clear the Sankranti rush. The SCR has reportedly put at least 200 special trains into operation, connecting various cities and towns in the two Telugu states, for the purpose. Last week, the TSRTC announced that it was deploying an extra 5,000 buses to deal with the rush.
Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government also followed suit and said that it had cancelled toll tax on January 13 and 16 citing the same reasons. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has also reportedly deployed an additional 2,000 buses to deal with the rush as large bus stands like the Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS) in Vijayawada witnessed packed scenes.
Private bus operators who operate vehicles between districts and between the two states, also hiked their rates, to profit off the heavy rush.