Hyderabad: Sankranti festival kicked off a massive rush to various destinations in neighbouring states with many people stepping out of the city for a long weekend beginning Thursday.
Following a holiday on Thursday, several people took a day off on Friday and travelled to celebrate Sankranti with family and friends in their native places. Railway stations witnessed massive rush by Wednesday evening. Many pilgrims also made their way to Tirupati and Shirdi.
“It’s been 10 months since I have been home. Since, I had to avail leave of only one day, I decided to travel back and meet my family for Sankranti,” said Jeevan Iyer, who travelled to Salem, Tamil Nadu, from Hyderabad on Wednesday afternoon.
The South Central Railways (SCR) had announced 158 festival special trains to ferry passengers from Hyderabad towards multiple places in Andhra Pradesh. “We are running 12 festival specials on average per day. There are 17 regular special trains being run per day. Each train can accommodate up to 1,200 to 1,300 passengers,” said a railway official, indicating that at least 12,000 to 13,000 passengers are being ferried to various locations every day.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation operated close to 1,800 special buses from Hyderabad to districts in Telangana and AP apart from 1,200 special buses to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Private bus operators also did brisk business with many jacking up the prices at the last minute.
For many, travelling by personal vehicle or by cabs emerged as a safer option in view of Covid-19. The Panthangi toll plaza near Choutuppal witnessed heavy traffic flow from Wednesday evening with large number of people travelling towards Vijayawada, Bhimavaram and West Godavari.
“During the pandemic, travelling by your own car or a rented car or cab is a much safer option as you are not sharing the space with anyone else. We decided to travel to Hampi for a family trip during the Sankranti holiday,” said Vishal Jain, a graphic engineer at a multi-national company in Kondapur.