Home-bound rush for Sankranti leaves Hyderabad deserted

Hyderabad: With hundreds of thousands of people heading to their respective native places to celebrate the Sankranti or Pongal festival this weekend, the roads of Hyderabad city will be free of the usual mad rush and din from Thursday.

Traffic was thin in all parts of city. However, there was a huge rush at the major railway stations and the two main bus terminals as the families joined the long queues to head towards their native places, mostly the districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

In the annual tradition, the South Central Railway (SCR) was running special trains to deal with the rush. Similarly, the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation was running hundreds of special buses to ease the congestion. In an unusual move, the SCR authorities have doubled the platform ticket from Rs 10 to 20 to discourage large number of people coming to see off their relatives.

With many families travelling by their own vehicles, there was also rush on all roads leading out of Hyderabad and long queues were seen at the toll plazas.

Authorities say they were also getting ready for the return rush from the evening of January 16. Schools and colleges have declared holiday until Tuesday.

Government and private employees, including the workers of IT companies, have also taken leave to extend their holidays to spend more time with their families back home. According to an IT industry source, of the more than 400,000 software engineers, 30 to 40 per cent have gone on extended leave.

Ahead of Sankranti, not only the traffic on the roads has eased, but offices and other public places also appeared deserted.

On the other hand, Hyderabadis were also gearing up for the colorful festival of kites and the shops in the Old City and Begum Bazar were buzzing with the kite lovers. Telangana state government has organised not only a Kite Festival but also a Sweet Festival where more than 300 outlets have come up serving different sweet dishes and local savouries.

Meanwhile, the police in Hyderabad and neighbouring Cyberabad and Rachakonda have increased their patrolling specially in those areas where large number of families have gone to their native places for the festival. The police have issued warning to such families that they should fully secure their homes and properly lock them before leaving the city. In some areas they also asked the people to inform the local police station about their travel plans. The precautionary measures were taken in view of many instances where burglars targeted such houses in the past.

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