Row between automen, church: Minister asked to intervene

Autos parked near Church hinders movement of devotees

The ongoing tussle between autorickshaw owners and the authorities at St Bartholomew Church on Bengaluru-Nilgiri road has reached Transport Minister R Ramalinga Reddy’s office. The decision over brokering the truce now rests with the minister, with both parties seeking reprieve.

Ever since the pre-paid auto counter was shifted from the main entrance of the KSRTC sub-urban bus stand to its left (towards Church side) to facilitate modernisation works of the stand under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) two years ago, the autos attached to the counter are being parked towards the church, extending till the road adjacent to the church. 

All was fine till the church authorities accompanied by the devotees took objection to the three-wheelers hindering the movement of devotees. On Tuesday, Rev Devkumar, the priest of the church appealed to the minister during the meeting at Government Guest House, to address the matter.

He said that the problems faced by the devotees, sometimes ended up in altercations with the transport operators. He also narrated his unsavoury experience, when he couldn’t reach a devotee on death bed to perform a ritual of offering ‘bread and wine’. It is a custom in the Christian community to tend to the wishes of a person on the verge of death.

“I couldn’t reach him, as the autos blocked my vehicle,” he said.In his representation on behalf of the transport operators, spokesman of Mysore District (City) Congress Committee M Lakshmana said transport operators at the counter were deprived of basic amenities like drinking water and toilets.

In the absence of toilets, they were forced to relieve themselves at a place behind the church compound. The meeting was followed by the minister’s inspection at sub-urban bus stand, cellar parking lot and the road behind, covering the disputed pre-paid auto counter site.

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