Public transport services operated by North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) were hit hard in the seven districts of Kalyana Karnataka and Vijayapura district in Bombay Karnataka after most of the transport employees in the State-owned corporation went on strike on Wednesday.
Though the NEKRTC authorities deployed a few private vehicles at certain bus stands to minimise inconvenience caused to the public, most of the passengers had to suffer as they could not find bus services to their destinations. Passengers coming to the bus terminals and going out of them desperately searching for private vehicles outside the bus stands was a common scene across the region in the morning hours. As the day grew, almost all bus stands in the region wore deserted look.
In Kalaburagi, a few private buses deployed by the NEKRTC operated on major routes, including Kalaburagi-Bidar and Kalaburagi-Ballari.
In Raichur, a few bus services of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments operated as usual and passengers used them to reach Kurnool, Mantralayam, Gadwal, Mahabubnagar and other towns and cities in the neighbouring States. However, passengers whose destinations were within the district and the State had to suffer a lot as the number of private vehicles was insufficient to meet the demand. Passengers outside Raichur Bus Stand complained that the private operators were taking advantage of the strike demanding double the normal bus fares.
The Ballari district administration deployed 70 private buses at major bus stands across the district and they completed over 150 trips by 4 p.m. To avoid any untoward incidents, police forces were also deployed. Ballari Divisional Controller of NEKRTC Rajagopal Puranik said that the buses operated 37 trips in Ballari, Kudtini and Kurgod.
The Ballari Division of the NEKRTC ensured that private operators did not overcharge the passengers taking advantage of the situation. The officers were found helping passengers in finding buses to their destinations and with the exact ticket fare to be paid. They also warned private operators that they will have to face stringent action for overcharging passengers.
As per information provided by NEKRTC’s Chief Traffic Manager D. Kotresh, the State-owned transport corporation suffered a loss of around ₹4 crore on the first day of the strike as most of its 20,000 employees participated in the strike. NEKRTC operates 4,013 buses in nine divisions spread across eight districts.