Om Shakthi devotees forced to reschedule pilgrimage

Om Shakthi devotees forced to reschedule pilgrimage

KSRTC buses booked on an casual contract for piligrimage to Melmaruvathur in Tamil Nadu halted at the Kempegowda Bus Station following Bharath bandh. DH Photo

Om Shakthi devotees, who had scheduled their pilgrimage to Adhiparasakthi temple in Melmaruvathur on Tuesday, were forced to reschedule their visit due to Bharath bandh called by the trade unions across India.

The devotees had hired Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses on the casual contract like every year for their pilgrimage to a town in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

“We had scheduled the trip for two days. But due to the bandh, KSRTC officials are refusing to operate and have not taken out the bus. We were supposed to begin our pilgrimage today. But now we are scheduling the trip to next week,” Ramchandra, a devotee and organiser of the pilgrimage told DH.

“We had booked the buses last week and came here for the trip. Now we have informed all our devotees about the cancellation, and many are upset. A few of them have gone ahead with the pilgrimage by hiring private transport,” Ramachandra added.

A few devotees had turned up on Monday night at the KSRTC bus stop and decorated a few buses with flowers and also had tied photos of goddess Adhiparasakthi.

The buses were allocated to many organisers also. As its still unclear about the bandh on Wednesday, a few devotees are preferring to reschedule the trip for next week.

On the other hand, KSRTC officials defended their move by saying it was done in the interest of the devotees.

“We can’t predict what will happen once we start the operation. So we have stopped the buses,” a senior KSRTC official told DH.

“A casual contract is charged on an hourly basis. They would be charged the moment the bus is out of the depot. And if the bus gets stuck in protest, the devotees would have to pay a hefty amount for it. So we are rescheduling the date without charging any extra money,” a senior KSRTC official told DH.

On Tuesday 22 buses were booked for the trip and 35 buses are booked for Wednesday. Refusing to take a chance on Wednesday, most of the devotees were seen queuing up in front of the booking counter for rescheduling the dates to next week.

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