As many as 50 lakh people virtually on a “Ghar Wapsi” to their native villages and towns for celebrating Sankranti festival has resulted in an unprecedented rush at bus depots and railway stations in the city for the last two days.
Though the festivities commence on Friday with Bhogi, Sankranti on Saturday and Kanumu on Sunday, people from different parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States settled in Hyderabad for various avocations have started leaving for their respective home towns since Sunday last itself. As a matter of fact, many had booked their trains and bus tickets well in advance. Thus the bus and railway stations in the city are virtually chocked with passengers.
The SCR and RTC authorities have also made special arrangements to cope with the heavy festival rush by operating extra services. However, there seemed to be a shortfall of the services when compared to the unprecedented rush. This is despite the fact that scores of people proceeding in their own vehicles or in private taxis.
Taking undue advantage of rush and the anxiety of people to reach their native places for their biggest festival in time, unscrupulous private operators of taxis and buses are fleecing the passengers by charging three to four times the normal fare. What is more, even the State-run RTC also seemed to be trying to fill its coffers by charging exorbitant fares. What is intriguing is that people are trying to reach their native places by paying extra fares and traveling in chocked trains and buses.
Large traffic jams and bottlenecks on the national high way between Hyderabad and Vijayawada has become the order of the day during the last few days. Serpentines queues of vehicles are witnessed at all the toll gates with the number of vehicles increasing by 30 percent. According to officials, while 25,000 vehicles cross the Pathangi toll gate on normal days, the traffic has increased by 30 percent in view of the Sankranti festival. Similarly, while 18,000 to 20,000 vehicles, including cars pass through Chillakalu near Jaggaiahpet on normal days, it has increased by about 6,000 vehicles, mostly cars and buses. Same is the situation at toll gates near Gorla Pahad near Nakrekal and Chillakallu and also at Keesara in Krishna district.
The traffic jams at toll gates and the delay in vehicular movement for over 30 minutes at each gate is resulting in frustrating passengers entering into arguments with the staff manning the toll gates. Apart from people from Hyderabad leaving for Vijayawada, Guntur, Vizag and so on, an equal number of persons also travel to different towns in Telanganas like Nizamabad, Warangal, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Khammam and so on. (NSS).