T.N. natives employed in Karnataka began returning across the State border; transport options were limited and passengers complained of being over-charged
The inter-State border at Zuzuvadi here has started to see a trickle of people walking in with their belongings, with only a few hours left for the total lockdown announced by Karnataka State government.
Two young women hailing from Tirupathur, and employed in an IT firm in Whitefield decided to return home instead of spending money on their PG accommodation. “We have been working from home for the last one week. But with the lockdown, we will have to continue to work from home. It made sense to go home to our parents, than stay in Bengaluru and spend for food and accommodation,” said one of them, Shanti.
However, fearing a rush out of Bengaluru, they packed their luggage and found a bus from Whitefield to Athibelle. With only a few buses into Tamil Nadu, and the last round of buses plying out of Karnataka into Tamil Nadu subjected to COVID-19 guidelines of limited passengers, the two women had to walk a few kilometres from Athibelle into Tamil Nadu.
The Hosur bus stand wore a desolate look, with hardly any bus to ferry people back from Karnataka. The various divisions of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation have already pulled back their services into Karnataka making it difficult for the Tamil Nadu native employees of Karnataka to find their way back.
“There is physical distancing in buses, and no standing passengers are allowed. We got dropped off at Athibelle and no buses would stop. Taxis were demanding ₹750 for 3 km, autorickshaws were charging ₹250. We had no choice but to walk,” said Shanti.
At the border, autorrickshaws and taxis were seen overcharging commuters, leaving no option for those returning but to walk. With no town bus services arranged by the district administration to ferry the commuters from the border, the highway was slowly beginning to be dotted by people walking in with their luggage, as of Tuesday morning.