Residents of distant villages in Sirwar complain of lack of public transport and apathy from the government.
By Niket Nishant
“For a long time now, I have wanted to live in Tulajaram village of Sirwar taluk with my parents. But the lack of public transport here is deterring me,” says Mr. Panduranga, a resident of the said village.
“I work in Raichur, which itself is a long commute (about 45 kilometres) from Sirwar. Add to that the time taken to reach Sirwar bus stop without any public transport. It becomes impossible to reach my workplace on time,” he adds.
Like Mr. Panduranga, many villagers living in distant parts of Sirwar taluk are forced to live without public transport. They have to rely on private vehicles, which in most cases is a motorcycle or a bicycle. Since these modes of transport are not convenient for the elderly, they are virtually cut off from the rest of the world.
Norms set by the NITI Aayog suggest having 400 buses per 10 lakh people. The Aayog, in its report on urban mobility, found that Karnataka fares the best among the states, with 393 buses per 10 lakh population. However, the distribution of these buses is scanty, as seen in Sirwar.
Mr. Ravi, a native of a village about 12 kilometres from the only bus stop in Sirwar, said, “Since I am a student at Raichur, I have to stay at a hostel there. I could have easily managed to travel daily between my home and college, if public transport facilities were available here. All those costs that I have to bear for my lodging are extra and unnecessary expenses.”
Mr. Raghavendra, a teacher at a primary school in the same village, has to start his day earlier than required to reach the school.
“Coming to the school from Raichur takes a long time and is tiring. Often, I have to take a nap in the bus,” he said.
Poor roads are also responsible for the same, the President of Sirwar taluk panchayat revealed. He explained, “The narrow roads connecting the taluk to these villages are unsuitable for buses. Also, a lot of people own bikes and carrier auto-rickshaws and manage with them.”
However, Mr. Ramesh, a local of another remote village called Murkigudda, who also owns a carrier auto-rickshaw said, “I, and a lot of my friends in the village who own such autos, use them primarily for ferrying crops and goods to and fro the taluk. I usually use my vehicle to ferry cotton. Rarely do I carry women and elderly in my family.”
His mother echoes the sentiment.