TIRUCHY: Even as the district administration is taking steps to vaccinate maximum number of people, the risk of a probable third wave still keeps staring at us in the face. That people coming to public places like bus stands continue to bother least about wearing masks or following safety measures is a cause of serious concern.
Enter a bus stand during rush hour and large number of people can be seen boarding crowded TNSTC and private buses without wearing face masks. This has, once again, raised doubts about the purported alertness of the administration in checking for Covid safety norm violation. Nothing can be more sad than seeing students travelling on footboards of TNSTC and private buses, without wearing masks. All these raise concern among the residents and many of them urged the district administration to take steps to rectify these issues.
Swathi Anand, a resident of Puthur, said, "If the administration is remaining alert, how cab students be allowed to travel on footboards of crowded buses without wearing masks. This clearly proves the authorities are not conducting regular inspections like what they claim to be doing."
Apart from bus passengers, a large number of people using other means of transport across the city are also seen moving around without wearing masks.
Ilangovan, a plumber waiting for a city bus at Somarasampettai, said, "I am very much worried about travelling with people who are not wearing masks. But, I do not have a choice. How else can I reach the city on time for work?"
Many commuters using share-autos also shared similar thoughts. Selvi, a daily wage labourer waiting for a share-auto near TVS toll gate, said, "A lot of us are worried about the virus. But, how long can we continue to live in fear? So, I am forced to brush aside my concern about co-passengers flouting the safety norms."
Though the traffic police can be spotted stopping some motorists commuting without face masks, the police seems to be ignoring crowded buses.
R Swaminathan, a resident of Srirangam, said, "If nobody checks for violation of norms in public transport facilities, it would certainly result in a third wave. If cases spread, the government might suspend the public transport system. So, apart from vaccination, the authorities should take steps to penalise violators."
Ironically, the Tiruchy Corporation conducted a survey last month to get residents' feedback about public transportation system in the city. The Corporation enquired about their concern while using the public transport facility. It also asked the residents whether they would shift to the public transport system if it is safe, affordable, and more reliable.
Collector S Sivarasu, when contacted, said he would direct the TNSTC to ensure that passengers without masks are not allowed to board the buses.