70 buses leave from Maha to bring back students in Kota

70 buses leave from Maha to bring back students stuck in Kota

At least 70 state transport buses left from Maharashtra on Wednesday morning to bring back students stranded at Kota in Rajasthan due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, an official said.

The vehicles left from Maharashtra's Dhule district around 10.30 am and will reach Rajasthan by Wednesday night, he said.

"The buses will leave from Kota on Thursday morning," the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) official said, adding that only 20 students will be allowed in each bus and the vehicles will halt at two to three places for food breaks.

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A number of students from Maharashtra have been staying at Kota to take coaching classes for the preparation of various competitive entrance examinations after Class 12.

The MSRTC official said due to the long-distance journey of 11 to 12 hours, each bus has been provided two drivers, and a van will go along with the fleet to help in case of a breakdown and ensure a smooth journey.

"On the return journey from Kota, the buses will ferry students to their respective districts," he said.

Maharashtra Transport Minister Anil Parab in a tweet late Tuesday night said, "1780 students from Maharashtra are stuck in Kota, Rajasthan due to lockdown for precaution against Covid-19. As directed by Hon'ble CM Shri. @OfficeOfUt, 92 buses of MSRTC fleet will Leave on 29th April 2020from Dhule to rescue the students & Bring them back home."

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When asked about it, the MSRTC official said earlier they were to send 92 buses, but the number was reduced as some districts like Raigad and Beed sent private buses to bring back students from Kota.

On return, the students and their parents will undergo medical checkup followed by the mandatory 14-day home quarantine, a senior official from the Maharashtra disaster management department said on Tuesday.

The Maharashtra government decided to bring back the students following indications that the lockdown may be extended in some of the major cities where the coronavirus situation is yet to come under control.