Accusing the ruling BJP government of cheating hundreds of migrant workers by first over-charging and collecting single journey fare from them, the Karnataka Congress donated Rs 1 crore to the state-run transport service to send the stranded workers to their native place free, a party official said on Sunday.
“Our party’s state unit president D.K. Shivakumar gave Rs 1 crore through cheque to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) towards the cost of bus fare for sending the migrant workers to their native places across the state from Bengaluru,” party’s spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS.
In a damage control exercise, state chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Saturday directed the KSRTC to charge only single fare for ferrying the migrant labourers to their home and not to charge to and fro, as the state would bear its operational cost.
“The state government has been insensitive to the plight of the migrant workers belonging to our state itself, as they have been left in the lurch with no local transport to reach the intra-bus/inter-bus terminal in the city centre and enough buses to send them to their native place,” Gowda lamented.
With the extended lockdown norms further relaxed, the state government has allowed the migrant workers in the cities across the southern state to return to their native place in special buses within the state and special trains to other states since Saturday.
“Though hundreds of migrant workers rushed to the terminal in the city centre in private vehicles, KSRTC failed to arrange enough buses to send them to their native place across the state. Many waited till late night without food and water to board the special buses to their native place,” Gowda alleged.
The party’s state unit cadres arranged free food and water to all the migrants who boarded the buses belatedly to their home towns and villages.
On the reported delay in arranging buses for the migrant labourers, a KSRTC official told IANS that due to operational and logistic reasons, some buses were late in reaching the terminal as they were parked in different depots during the nearly 40-day lockdown since March 25, enforced to prevent the coronavirus spread across the state.
According to the state labour department, about 2 lakh migrant workers have been stranded in relief camps in cities and border areas across the state, with 80,000 of them in this tech city as buses and train services were suspended since March 25 due to the lockdown.