Parks to Open, Buses to Run…in State said CM, However, Parks Not Open, Buses Not Running in Mluru?

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Parks to Open, Buses to Run, …in State said Chief Minister Yediyurappa on Monday, 18 May, however, Parks Not Open, Buses Not Running in Mangaluru? Seems like Mangaluru doesn’t belong to Karnataka? But good news for Mangaluru Commuters, City Bus service will commence from 1 June 2020, according to president of Dakshina Kannada Bus Operators Association.

Mangaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Monday, 18 May allowed ease in lockdown and said total lockdown will be imposed in the state on Sundays only. “All shops will be allowed to open, all trains running within the state will be allowed. Road state transport corporation buses in state and private buses will run. Strict lockdown measures in containment zones and economic activities will be permitted in other areas. Sundays will be total lockdown across the state. The home quarantine will be strengthened,” he added.

Public transport services like autos and taxis to resume services in the state except in containment zones. Meanwhile, Karnataka has banned entry of international and domestic passengers from four states namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. People from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala won’t be allowed inside Karnataka, while people coming from other states will have to undergo compulsory quarantine, as per sources. All MHA guidelines will be followed which means gyms, golf courses to remain shut. Parks in the state to be open from 7 am to 9 am in the morning and 5 pm to 7 pm in the evening. In the meantime, Karnataka has so far reported over 1,100 coronavirus patients and more than 30 deaths linked to COVID-19.

Joggers and walkers who have been anxiously waiting for Kadri Park to open, were over joyed with CM’s words on Monday, but all their anxiousness was nullified since the Kadri Park was not open on Tuesday morning. Many who had come at 7 am, had to return back since the park gate was locked. But a few took their morning walk on the street and highway adjacent to the Park, even though they were not happy with it. And as of today, Thursday, the Kadri Park gate is still locked, and only a bunch of stray dogs could be seen guarding the park gate- and in the meantime, walkers and joggers are still making use of the street across the park for their exercises. Fake promises by CM, when it comes to these benefits to Mangaluru.

And regarding the running of buses, other than a few KSRTC buses which started to ply towards Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga and Hubballi on Tuesday, citizens of Mangaluru were out of luck, since the city buses didn’t start their services. Ever since the city and service buses had ceased their services due to lockdown, since March 2020, it has resulted in hardship and inconveniences to many commuters, including office goers, students and others. And with only a few auto-rickshaws plying on the road, and who have been charging exorbitant fares, has even made the life of the common people hard. Not only the commuters are facing the brunt of this lockdown, where bus transportation has been stopped, it is the bus owners who have also been facing the brunt, incurring heavy loses due to non-income since nearly two months.

Dakshina Kannada Bus Operators Association (DKBOA ) President Dilraj Alva speaking to Team Mangalorean said, ” Since the commuters are facing lots of inconveniences to do their errands and other engagements, we have now decided to start the bus services from 1 June 2020, even though the DC, RTO and other authorities have responded to our demands we had put forth. Couple of weeks ago, our association members had met the DC and put forth our two main demands, of which, one is allow us to increase the bus fare, since we will be transporting half the passengers capacity in the bus, due to social distancing; and our second demand is that the government should exempt from paying Road Tax for six months; and later if the lockdown still continues, and if bus service continues, they should give us 50% reduction in road tax”.

He further said, “Every three months as Road Tax, we pay, Rs 26,000 for city urban buses; Rs 36,000 for Rural bus; Rs 56,000 for Express Buses; and Rs 82,000 for Contract Carriage buses, which is a lot of money, when there is no proper income. But as of today, 21 May, we have not received a positive answer from the authorities on our demands. We are hoping at least within the next few days, that the DC and the concerned authorities will accept our demands, and do the needful, which would benefit the bus owners and our staff, and also the commuters, who have been waiting anxiously for bus services to resume. However, even if our demands are not met by this month month, we have decided to resume bus service on 1 June, whatever the outcome is. We are still hoping for the best, since we can provide a better service for our commuters”.

For many common people, the bus service is essential to reach to their destination or work-place. How long can anyone stay home without work and income, just because of lockdown and restrictions. It’s time to relax the lockdown, and come to a proper conclusion, between the district authorities and bus owners. Why can’t the govt wave the road tax for few months, since the bus owners are in financial crunch. If the Union Finance Minister can boast about her Rs 20 lack crore package, exempting the road tax for a while will just be peanuts for the government. But we need to appreciate the kind gesture of DKBOA to start their services on 1 June, amidst all the hardship they are facing during the lockdown.

It’s the need of the hour that the Government and the Bus Owners Association should come to a consensus for the benefit of the people. They should realize that, how would people who always depend on only bus mode of travel should survive by sitting at home? They can’t keep this lockdown with strict restrictions for long, since the the Covid-19 virus may not end soon- some reports indicate that the virus may last for few more years. OMG!

Finally, my sincere thanks to CM Yediyurappa for allowing the salons to open- and I benefited from it. I was looking like hippy with my hair grown long since few weeks during lockdown (that I had to cover it by wearing a hat all these days) and finally, thanks to my Delhiwallah barber operating his shop (Kushi Hair Dressing Salon-Kadri) near to my house, who gave me a royal haircut- and compliments to him and his staff for following the guidelines of Covid-19, where face masks were worn, social distancing observed, and the hair cutting tools were sanitized before use. Don’t we all love this lockdown, which came from no where? Unfortunately, we all do!

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