Young girls are dropping out of schools and the old walk miles of distance due to poor public transport system in Maski.
By Yamini Chincholi
Travelling from one village to another is not a walk in the park for dwellers of Maski taluk as public transport is available only thrice a day.
Public buses are available at 8 AM, 2 PM and 6 PM only and each village is at least 20 kilometres away from Maski town and 7-8 kilometres away from one another. Old women and school-going children say they find it weary to get around.
Many students, especially girls have been forced to discontinue higher studies because the higher primary schools are too far away from their villages.
Ms. Tayyaba, teacher at Urdu Lower Primary School in Dignayakanbhavi said, “There are two lower primary schools in Dignayakanbhavi, but the higher primary school is several kilometres away, in the next village, Maraldinni. Many students drop out of school after standard five because there is no frequent bus facility around here.”
Old women and children hitch rides if they need to travel to other villages, but on days they run out of luck, they have to walk long miles in the parching sun. Some villagers have motor bikes but all of their family does not fit on the bike. Auto rickshaws also pass by rarely. On occasions that they do, they are already overflowing with people.
Parvathy, 59-years-old, from Muldini tanda runs a local pharmacy in the 200-population village. The Samudaya bhavans and Anganvadis in Belladamaradi frequently ask her to deliver medicines, more so in the wake of COVID-19 scare. She said, “Each trip is exhausting because I never know if I will get a bus or an auto. I have sometimes asked strange men for lifts because I could not bear to walk further. The journey is better when I have company.”
Maski town has a reasonably big and busy bus stand where there is at least one KSRTC bus every 15 minutes to places like Sindhnur, Manvi, Buddhini and Lingsur. But local buses that travel within Maski taluk are rare.
Officials deny problems and believe extra buses need not be scheduled. Satyanarayan Sindhanur, Maski Town Head said that they haven’t received any requests or complaints from the villagers about transport problems. “As of now, everything is going smoothly. If there is a demand for more buses, there is no problem in scheduling a couple more,” he said.
Mr Balaram Kattimani, the Tehsildar of Maski Taluk said, “We have strategically thought of the timings when buses should be available: when children go to school in the mornings, when they come back home in the evenings and one in the afternoon for farmers and labourers to return home for lunch. We think this arrangement is working fine.”
Dr Rachana Satyadeva is a physician based in Bangalore. She said, “People above age 55 should avoid walking long distances, as it can drain one’s energy and also cause dehydration. It is harmful to be exposed to too much sun especially in the afternoon hours as it could tamper with homeostasis (maintenance of body temperature) and circadian rhythms (physical, mental and behavioural cycles) of the body.”