DHARMAPURI: Residents of Vathalmalai have appealed to the district administration to increase the number of buses services to the tribal hamlets. Residents stated only one bus is making three trips daily, which results in crowding.
Vathalmalai, located 25 km from Dharmapuri town, received its first bus service in August this year. This gave people easy access to markets in the town. However, only one bus (which makes three trips daily) has been designated between Vathalmalai and Dharmapuri. As the number of commuters per trip ranges between 70 to 80 passengers, residents urged TNSTC to allocate more buses.
K Selvam, a resident of Palsilambu, said, “One of the milestones for our village is the introduction of bus service in August. Since then more people have been travelling to Dharmapuri and this helped improve our livelihood. But so far only one bus has been allowed to our village. If additional buses are allocated, trade and tourism would improve to a great extent.”
J Prathapan, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Agriculturist Farmers Association, said, “A bus can at most accommodate 38 seated passengers plus 20 standing passengers. But in Vathalmalai, over 70 people travel in a bus per trip. The problem is only one bus is designated for the route between Dharmapuri and Vathalamalai and this bus makes three trips daily. The evening trip sees up to 100 people using the bus. This causes severe overcrowding and the hill roads with more than two dozen hairpin bends are risky.”
“Allocating an additional bus with three trips would be most helpful to the residents,” he added. When contacted officials in the district administration said, “We are aware of the issue and TNSTC will look into a possible action plan for allocating more buses.”