Over 2,000 KSRTC buses ferry Gruha Lakshmi beneficiaries to Maharaja’s College Grounds; breakfast and food packets provided while boarding buses
Mysore/Mysuru: All roads in the city seemed to lead towards Maharaja’s College Grounds this morning as a multitude of people, primarily women from Mysuru and surrounding districts arrived in various vehicles to the venue.
As women dressed in their best walked towards their destination, areas like University of Mysore, Saraswathipuram Railway Bridge, Krishnaraja Boulevard, Kantharaj Urs Road and surrounding localities were buzzing with activity.
Beginning at 8 am, the Police had effectively closed all roads leading to Maharaja’s College Grounds for vehicular access as part of crowd and traffic control measures. Vehicles, including buses and tempos, which transported individuals from different directions, were directed to drop off passengers at points such as Chamaraja Double Road, Vinoba Road, Krishnaraja Boulevard (Court Road) and other approach roads, each at a significant distance from the venue. To cater to the event, the Government had arranged a fleet of 2,000 KSRTC buses to transport people from various parts of the five districts (Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan, Chamarajanagar and Kodagu).
‘We are the Gruha Lakshmis’
Panchayat Development Officers of village panchayats and Tahsildars of taluks were tasked with the responsibility of bringing women to Mysuru. All KSRTC buses sported posters and banners on all sides announcing the Gruha Lakshmi Scheme and the promised Rs. 2,000.
The boarding points at villages and tribal hamlets wore a festive look as each bus was flagged off either by officials or the village heads. Women even applied rangolis in front of houses and at the boarding points that conveyed the message “we are the Gruha Lakshmis”.
Passengers were provided with breakfast at the departure points of these buses and each bus displayed a destination and route map to assist travellers in navigating to and from their respective destinations. As food was not served at the venue, food packets were distributed to the women while they boarded the buses.
As soon as they arrived in Mysuru, the women, wearing colourful sarees, walked in groups to the venue and were seen at all the footpaths and many were seen taking shelter under the trees to escape from the scorching sun. Most of the women who came from the villages were left stranded on the roads as they could not enter the packed venue. They were seen opening their umbrellas and squatting on the footpaths and culverts.
The venue was also packed with women who constituted 90 percent of the crowd. Symbolising ‘Gruha Lakshmi,’ most of the women wore jasmine flowers on their braids.
Constant traffic jams
With all routes leading to Maharaja’s College Grounds sealed off for vehicular movement, the heart of the city and its surrounding areas experienced extensive traffic congestion. Vehicles stretched over long distances on the roads, reminiscent of the situation often observed during the Dasara festival. The Police faced significant challenges in managing the crowd at the venue and regulating traffic on the approach roads.
Concerning the venue itself, Congress party flags, buntings, banners and posters adorned the entire Maharaja’s College Grounds and its vicinity. Party flags were visible throughout the vicinity of the venue. Cut-outs of Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Siddharamaiah, D.K. Shivakumar and H.C. Mahadevappa were placed on all the roads that led to the event venue.
Street vendors selling food items, snacks, cool drinks, tender coconut, ground nuts, churmuri, water bottles and the like, had a good time as they did brisk business, with women sitting and squatting on the roads in the vicinity of the grounds under the scorching sun. A few vendors were also seen selling clothes and dresswears to women.
Tight security was provided all around the venue with Police personnel deployed in good numbers to control crowds and regulate traffic.