Bengaluru Back On Track As Lockdown Eases, But Difficulties Remain

Coronavirus lockdown: Karnataka Transport Minister Laxman Savadi said, "Except for the red zones, the cantonment area, public transport will be there in all areas"

Coronavirus lockdown: Many people came out to buy essentials after Karnataka eased lockdown


Bengaluru has started to look more like its pre-lockdown version. From Tuesday morning, buses are back on the road - with fewer passengers permitted. Autorickshaws - with their distinctive green and yellow colours - are also back. And taxis can be hired once again. All this is of course outside containment zones which continue to have only essential services.

But difficulties remain. One auto driver, Chandrashekar, told NDTV, "They have allowed autos, but there are no passengers. I have had only two. We are just driving around and waiting."

Transport Minister Laxman Savadi said, "Except for the red zones, the cantonment area, public transport will be there in all areas. There will be restrictions - only 30 people allowed in a bus. Even in taxis, Ola, Uber, autos, it will be one plus three in taxis and one plus two in autos. But on Sundays, they will not be allowed."

All shops outside the containment zones were allowed to open. Parks were open from Tuesday morning, which was a relief for many. There were queues of walkers and joggers outside the well-known Lalbagh.

But the response on easing of restrictions was mixed from the public.

One man said, "For the economy it is good. But for coronavirus recovery it is difficult. It may spread more. But we cannot be in the house only for all things."

Another expressed his concern about the bus services. "Running BMTC is dangerous. They can't clean each seat, each time. What if someone who has coronavirus comes and sits on the seat?" he said.

Another man said, "The only hope is if mandatory distancing is maintained in public, private vehicles along with masks. But I find that is missing. My worry is let us pray the cases don't increase. It is one lakh today in India."

Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal Secular said, "The state government has taken the decision to relax the lockdown restrictions without proper preparation. Even today people are suffering - coming on the streets and facing a lot of problems. The government is unnecessarily giving problems to people."

Karnataka has decided against allowing travellers from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to enter the state till the end of May. People arriving from other states will have to undergo two weeks institutional quarantine.

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