Thousands of regular travelers, including students, from Kerala’s border districts to Dakshina Kannada district, particularly Mangaluru, face major challenges daily due to a lack of passenger rail and inter-state bus services between the two states. Students and ordinary travelers from Uppala, Manjeshwara, Hosangadi, Kunjathur, and other locations are forced to go to Talapady on the Kerala-Karnataka border on private and government-run buses. They must depart from Talapady and take a separate bus, either private or public, to continue their journey to Mangaluru and other regions of Dakshina Kannada.
Inter-State bus services have yet to be approved by the Karnataka government. An undergraduate student from Mangaluru’s Besant College informed The Hindu that she used to travel by Cheravathur passenger train before COVID-19, while waiting for a connecting bus at Talapady on November 16. Her daily journey, which used to take a maximum of 45 minutes in each direction, cost me a total of Rs 20. She now has to pay more than Rs100 every day for bus fare, as well as wait for a connecting bus at Talapady, and she is forced to ride on crowded buses.
Every day, a student from the Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management near Mangaluru travels by road from Hosangadi, Kerala, to Mangaluru. At Talapady, he is forced to change buses. There is no need to prohibit inter-state bus travel now that circumstances have significantly improved and LKG courses have restarted. Almost every senior student has been vaccinated and is wearing a face mask. As per Ganapathi Educational Institutions, some 2,000 students from Kerala’s border villages go to Mangaluru every day to study at St. Aloysius, University College, Government First Grade College, Besant Institutions, and other private institutions.
At Someshwara, near Ullal railway station, his institution also manages a high school and a PU college. Passenger train services have yet to restart, despite numerous petitions to the railroads, causing students and parents to spend a significant amount of money on their daily travel. As per a KSRTC spokesman, even if the individual RTCs provide student passes, they are of limited value because students must change buses at the border. Every morning and evening in Talapady, social activist Gopalakrishna Bhat witnesses the commotion as hundreds of students scramble for space inside crowded buses. They spend Rs 100 to Rs 150 a day on commuting, compared to a passenger train’s limit of Rs 30 in the pre-COVID-19 days. When normal train operations resumed on November 15, the railways should have resumed passenger train service.