On Sunday, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi requested Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to issue new lockdown guidelines. Writing a letter to the Union Minister, Savadi also asked for permission to operate public transport, stating that the lockdown has caused a financial loss of Rs 1600 crore to all four Karnataka Transport Undertakings (KTU)-- Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC), North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC)
According to the state transport minister, the halt to the transport operations has caused a devastating impact on the operations of all the four STUs due to the combination of lack of revenue and continuing fixed costs such as salaries and pensions to staff, payables against existing loans, and so on. He added that even after post-COVID lockdown, operations, and revenues won't reach its previous demand and supply patterns in the next six to eight months due to reduced economic activity and users' perceived risk of contacting COVID in public transport.
Outlining the problems, the state transport minister requested Gadkari to permit the deployment of Non-AC buses on scheduled routes to ensure the adequacy of services.
The transport minister wrote, "The crew should wear facemask and hand gloves. The crew with health issues should not be deployed. The face masks should be made mandatory for all the passengers. Only asymptomatic persons should be allowed to travel on public transport. The Government of India may consider staggering working hours for various sectors to reduce peak hour traffic demand."
He further added that the occupancy should be allowed up to seating capacity.
He also mentioned that restrictions on public transport will lead to passenger commute by overcrowding in smaller vehicles like cars, maxi cabs, goods tempos, etc. which will adversely affect preventive measures.
India's COVID-19 count reached 90,927. Of these 34108 have been cured and 2872 have died. Meanwhile, PM Modi announced a financial package worth Rs.20 lakh crore- i.e 10% of the country's GDP.
(With ANI Inputs)