BENGALURU: It was an ordeal for many passengers who arrived or departed by special trains at the Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna railway station in Bengaluru on Wednesday in light of the total lockdown effected since Tuesday night in the city.
Desperate calls to private taxis, many of whom cancelled bookings at the last minute, huge sums paid to auto drivers, and long walks by many with heavy luggage in and around the station were common scenes.
A total of four trains reached KSR station in the morning. 124 passengers were on board the Udyan Express from Mumbai, 229 on the Rajdhani Express from New Delhi, 76 on the Mysuru-SBC special and 58 on the Belgaum-SBC Super Fast Express. Those who had their own vehicles parked at the station or had someone to pick them up were the lucky ones.
In addition, over 1,000 passengers were patiently waiting for hours in front of the station to board the Sangamitra Express to Bihar which had a departure time of 10 am. "I knew about the lockdown and knew it will be tough to get transport in the morning. So, I came here the previous night before 8 pm," says Pawar Lal, who has been here for over 12 hours.
An elderly couple who came to visit their son studying here had no clue about the lockdown. "We could not find any vehicle this morning. So, we both came walking to the station from our hotel in Gandhinagar. It is not very far but it was very tough with luggage," said Manisha Devi.
The Udyan Express reached as scheduled at 8 am. Passengers spent an hour inside the station as filling of forms with all details, thermal scanning and home quarantine sealing had to be carried out for 23 passengers who had boarded outside Karnataka and 23 transit travellers.
Shweta Nagaraj, a business development manager, who had boarded the train midway at Guntakal expressed her frustration at numerous taxi drivers cancelling the ride. "I have waited for over half an hour with drivers repeatedly telling at the last minute that they cannot come. I don't know how I will go home today."
Anbu, who had come from Mumbai and planned to board a KSRTC bus to Karaikudi, was shell-shocked on learning that buses would not run. "I will somehow reach the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border and take a bus from there," he said
An auto driver who did not give his name was charging Rs 100 a person for a five-member family who squeezed into his vehicle regardless of the destination.
When asked if autos and taxis were operating, a cop at the station said, "We have not received any written instructions on not permitting autos or taxis. So we are not restraining them from taking passengers."
A Railway Protection Force cop felt some arrangements should have been made for incoming passengers. "A few who alighted from the Mysuru train thought the BMTC bus to KIA airport was operating and reached here to board it. I am watching so many suffer and ask for my assistance since morning."