The Congress party demanded that the Telangana Government should take measures to resume the public transport system in the State, particularly in Hyderabad keeping in view the public problems. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin criticised that the State Government was not considering the problems being faced by people, especially the poor and middle class, due to closure of public transport in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

He said all RTC bus services and Hyderabad Metro Rail have remained closed since March 22 in view of lockdown due to Coronavirus. “The closure of public transport was essential to prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, in view of changed circumstances when many other services have been restored as part of Unlock-I & II, the State Government should consider re-opening of public transport in a regulated and controlled form,” he said in a media statement.

Nizamuddin said that almost all commercial establishments have resumed their activities since July 1 while following the Covid-19 guidelines. But the employees working for those establishments were unable to travel to their offices or shops due to the closure of public transport. “People owning a four-wheeler or two-wheeler can travel to their offices without any problem.

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Those earning high salaries can also afford to hire a cab or auto-rickshaw. But there are lakhs of people in Hyderabad who neither own a vehicle nor can they afford hiring an auto-rickshaw or cab on a daily basis. Such people are unable to go out for work. Consequently, the absence of public transport has left lakhs of people jobless since lockdown,” he pointed out.

“While it is true that people must stay at home to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from Covid-19 infection, this is also the reality that they might die of hunger if they don’t come out for work. The State Government need to work out a solution wherein people should have access to affordable and safe public transport,” he said.

The Congress leader said when the State Government could permit inter-district bus services, it should also consider resuming the services of RTC buses and Metro Rail by imposing some conditions. He said that since the Coronavirus was still spreading, some rules could be framed by allowing only half or one-third seating capacity. He alleged that the State Government was not considering this proposal as it might incur some losses to the RTC and Metro Rail.

He said if the State Government agrees to compensate for those losses for a month or so, lakhs of poor people would be able to earn their livelihood. He appealed to the government to consider resuming the RTC bus and Metro Rail services at the earliest.

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