Covid-19: TN govt mulls opening public transport in 27 districts

The relaxations will not apply to 11 districts – Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Tiruppur, Erode, Salem, Karur, Namakkal, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthrurai – as active caseload continues to remain high

The Tamil Nadu government announced more relaxations in 27 districts where the spread of Covid-19 is declining and public transportation is likely to resume from next week.

The decision was taken after a meeting between Chief Minister MK Stalin and Transport Minister RS Rajakanappan at the Secretariat on Wednesday. According to sources, the government is planning to operate 50 per cent of the town buses.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, a senior official from the Villupuram State Transport Corporation said: “We are hoping that from June 21 (Monday), buses will be allowed to ply within districts initially and after assessing the situation, it will be open for inter-districts as well,” he said.

The relaxations will not apply to 11 districts – Coimbatore, Nilgiris, Tiruppur, Erode, Salem, Karur, Namakkal, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthrurai – as active caseload continues to remain high.

95% workforce inoculated, says official

The official said that they are expecting the announcement by Saturday and added that all the workers including drivers, conductors have been vaccinated.

“During the first lockdown, we were allowed to run buses within zones. The government clubbed three or four nearby districts into one zone and we were allowed to ply within that area. But now they are likely to allow buses to operate within districts, which is of no use for us. For example, from Villupuram to Kallkuruchi, which is another district, is only 15km away. It does not make any sense,” he said.

Out of the 22,000 workforce, close to 19,000 have been vaccinated, the official said. “We set up vaccination camps at all depots and doctors and health workers were brought to the venues. Those workers who could not get vaccinated are those who had gone on long leave or those who recovered recently from Covid-19. We have been running buses for frontline warriors, so measures like sanitizing the buses are already in practice,” he added.

An official from the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) said that they came to know but are waiting for an official announcement. “We don’t know whether they will allow us to operate from next week. Unless an official order is provided, we cannot comment on it,” he said.

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