KURNOOL: Thousands of pilgrims from Karnataka were stranded at Srisailam bus station on Thursday as buses were not plying from Karnataka due to a KSRTC strike.
For the first time, the ghat road was open for buses to reach Srisailam after 9pm. Forest officials close the road after 9pm till 5am to avoid late-night driving, for the past several years.
The pilgrims who reached Srisailam from different parts of Karnataka on foot, covering hundreds of km, had their Darshan in the past two days. Now, when they want to return home, no bus service was available as KSRTC staff went on a strike since Wednesday.
Pilgrims have come to Srisailam from 13 districts in Karnataka, like Bijapur, Haveri, Bellari, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar, Hubbali, Bangalore, and Tumkur.
Kurnool APSRTC regional manager T Venkata Ramam said about 20 buses were sent on Thursday to Srisailam. There was some problem till afternoon and it was cleared thereafter, he said.
As the ZPTC and MPTC elections are also held on Thursday, we have dispatched 150 buses since Wednesday evening. Once they return on Thursday, they will be pressed into service, he said.
“The passengers are brought up to Kurnool and from here they go to their respective destinations taking link services,” he said.
A temple official said normally these pilgrims will wait till the Rathotsavam on April 13, Ugadi day. This year, maybe due to the corona scare, they were rushing to go back to their homes after the darshan.
Buses from Achampet in Nagarkurnool district were also requisitioned to help the stranded pilgrims, said temple executive officer Rama Rao.