THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has given conditional approval for Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation to transport Keralites stranded in Karnataka to their native places by this week. The approval was given following a meeting of Transport Secretary K R Jyothilal and Karnataka RTC officers on Monday. The returnees have to undergo medical check-up involving thermal scanner before boarding the bus and wear masks during travel. Besides, those returning from red zones of Karnataka, which include Bengaluru, will have to undergo 14 days of institutional quarantine set by the state government upon arrival.
The passengers also need to carry the pass issued by the Kerala government for crossing the inter-state border. Karnataka RTC will run non-AC buses on a contract carriage basis with notified entry and exit points. It means the passengers will have to pay for up and down trip. The buses will carry only half its seating capacity to maintain social distancing.
Karnataka RTC has both 44 and 54-seater non-AC semi-sleeper buses. Karnataka RTC has been getting queries from Keralites who were unable to return to their home state due to lack of conveyance, ever since lockdown restrictions were eased by the Karnataka government two days back. Besides Bengaluru, there is demand from Keralites in Mangaluru and Mysuru, which are not declared as red zones. “Several people have expressed interest through the Seva Sindhu e-pass.
We will collect passenger details and hand it over to the nodal officer incharge of Kerala in Karnataka,” said Prasanth G, an officer of Karnataka RTC. NoRKA has so far received over 50,000 applications from Karnataka for passes. Karnataka RTC is also planning to operate similar services to Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. Despite the demand, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation is yet to start similar service. “The railway is likely to start Bengaluru-Kochuveli train service. It would be cheaper compared to the bus service,” said an officer. For details on Karnataka RTC service, contact 7760990287, 7760990988, 7760990531, 6366423895, 6366423896.
25 start from K’taka in KPCC- arranged bus; thousands await return
Hours after the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee decided to operate a bus service from Bengaluru to Kerala, the first bus set off from the neighbouring state with 25 Malayalis on board. The journey began on Monday at 8 pm from the KSRTC stand at Gandhi Bhavan, Bengaluru. No sooner did the KPCC announce the decision, Karnataka MLA N A Haris has been inundated with calls from Malayalis stranded in the neighbouring state. So far, the legislator entrusted to bring back Keralites to their home state, has received over 3,500 calls.
“Calls have been been pouring in after the announcement was made on Sunday night. Due to the frequency of the calls, we are finding it difficult to attend all of them. However, we are ensuring no plea goes unheard. The returnees have been asked to first procure passes,” said C H Jawaz, personal assistant to Haris told TNIE.
Nearly two months into the lockdown, Malayalis stranded in Bengaluru are finally able to return home, thanks to the intervention of Kerala PCC president Mullapally Ramachandran who approached Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar to intervene in the matter.