SURAT: Tens of thousands of diamond workers going to their native villages in Saurashtra have received Diwali gift in the form of ‘one-way’ fare scheme from the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation ( GSRTC ).
Official sources said that the diamond workers travelling to their hometowns will get the benefit of one-way fare between October 22 to October 27. Earlier, the GSRTC would charge two-way fare for a single-trip as they would not get passengers in the return journey during the vacation period.
President of Surat Diamond Association (SDA), Babu Kathiriya said, “Earlier, a single journey fare to various destinations in Saurashtra would cost in the range of Rs 450 to Rs 600. Now, that has come down to less than Rs 300. This will benefit the diamond workers.”
An estimated eight lakh people from the diamond hub of Varachha, Katargam, Puna and Mota Varachha will be travelling to their native in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gariadhar, Surendranagar, Porbandar and Junagadh ahead of the Diwali vacation starting October 22.
Sources in the GSRTC said that about 1,200 buses will be plying to and from Surat to various destinations in Saurashtra on daily basis starting October 22. Compared to last year, about 200 more buses have been pressed into service this Diwali.
President of Gujarat Diamond Workers’ Union (GDWU), Ranmal Jilariya said, “Diamond workers are happy over the announcement of one-way fare. The private luxury operators literally make a loot by charging Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 for the one-way fare. This time around, majority of the workers will use GSRTC buses to travel to Saurashtra.”
Sanjay Joshi, divisional controller of GSRTC said, “We know that the diamond industry is passing through a tough phase. We want to help the workers travelling to their hometowns.”