Railway and bus stations in twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on Saturday saw huge rush of passengers heading home in the Telugu states for Samkranti festival.
Secunderabad, Kacheguda and Nampally stations witnessed big festive rush. Large number of families were seen on platforms waiting to board next available trains to their destinations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Secunderabad Railway Station, which is the biggest railway station in the twin cities, saw festive rush since early morning.
With South Central Railway (SCR) operating special trains to clear Samkranti rush, hundreds of men, women and children were seen flocking to the station.
The SCR officials were taking steps to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 precautions by the passengers. Police personnel were also seen advising the commuters to follow all the precautions like wearing of masks, maintaining social distance and hand sanitization.
The passenger rush is likely to increase in the coming days. The officials of different wings were coordinating to prepare plans to control the rush and ensure that all passengers follow Covid regulations.
Meanwhile, bus stations in the twin cities also saw big rush of passengers to board buses to their destinations. Both Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) in Hyderabad and Jubilee Bus Station (JBS) in Secunderabad were crowded with passengers leaving for their home towns in both the Telugu states.
Both Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) are operating special services to clear the festive rush.
The RTC officials have also taken steps to handle the crowd in view of Covid situation. An official of TSRTC said they were taking all precautions and were also advising passengers found not wearing mask or not abiding by other Covid guidelines.
Both the Telugu states have been witnessing a surge in Covid cases for last one week. Telangana saw a four-fold jump in the daily count of cases since the beginning of the new year. The state saw over 2,500 cases on Friday.
Andhra Pradesh on Friday reported 840 new Covid cases, the highest single-day spurt in four months.
Health officials have warned of a bigger surge after Samkranti festival.
Every year, lakhs of people living in Hyderabad and its surroundings go to their homes towns for Sankranti, the harvest festival which is celebrated with enthusiasm in both the states.
Every year, an estimated 20 lakh from Hyderabad and its surroundings visit their hometowns for Samkranti. Majority of them head towards coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions in Andhra Pradesh.
On no other festival people in such large numbers go home. It leaves the usually busy roads and intersections in Hyderabad rather deserted.