After nearly two months, the state-run Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) on Tuesday resumed services across the state, barring city
buses in Hyderabad and inter-state, which had been suspended since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced on March 24.
Shops that were also shut opened in the state except Hyderabad, where they were permitted to open on odd-even pattern on corresponding alternative days, officials said.
On Monday, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, while announcing extension of lockdown in the state from May 29 to 31, had announced several relaxations, including resumption of public transport with conditions and opening of all shops in the state except in Hyderabad.
In view of the high number of COVID-19 positive cases from Hyderabad, city bus services have not resumed, officials said.
According to TSRTC officials, intra-state (within the state) bus service began from Tuesday 6 am and around 6,000 buses (of the over 9,000 buses TSRTC has) were being operated excluding city buses in Hyderabad and inter-state buses.
"We have restored our operations in district areas except Hyderabad.In districts we are operating inter-district and intra-district," Executive Director (Operations) E Yadagiri said.
The officials said inter-district bus services to Hyderabad were terminated in peripheral areas of the city and no buses were allowed to the central bus station.
Buses coming from Warangal district and Yadagirigutta were being terminated at Uppal Cross Roads and buses from Nalgonda and Khammam districts are being permitted till Hayathnagar while buses from Mahabubnagar district were terminated at Aaramghar.
Similarly, buses from Vikarabad district were allowed till Appa Junction and the buses coming from Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Adilabad and Medak districts were being terminated at Jubilee Bus Station, they said.
All precautions and COVID-19 rules were being followed while operating the buses including ensuring social distancing, sanitising and disinfecting the buses.
No passenger will be allowed to board the bus if they don't wear facemasks, Yadagiri said, adding "Our crew -- driver and conductor -- are also wearing masks and sanitisers were provided to the staff. Similarly, sanitisers were also provided in buses and at wherever water facility is available at bus stations soaps were provided."
Passengers will be asked to observe social distancing norms and no standing passenger will be allowed in the buses, he said.
As of now there is no huge crowd at bus stations but more number of passengers are expected from Wednesday, officials added. Auto-rickshaws were also seen plying in the city.
Meanwhile, shops also opened across the state, though the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials said shops in the city will be permitted to open with on odd-even pattern on corresponding alternative days.
Further, shops in containment zones will continue to be closed, they said.
All Zonal Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners were directed to enforce this guidelines from Tuesday strictly besides ensuring compulsory wearing of masks for those working in the shops and customers.
"A policy of "No mask -no goods/no service" must be followed. Any violation will be penalised with a fine of Rs 1,000," officials said.
Shopkeepers were seen cleaning their shops and arranging their wares. M Mallareddy, who runs an electrical shop in the city and opened his shop, expressed happiness and hoped business would pick up soon.
Niranjan, who runs a garment shop, too heaved a sigh of relief, saying he can now resume his business.