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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Free bus travel for Punjab women poor copy of Delhi scheme, very few govt buses here: Raghav Chadha

The Punjab Cabinet had on Wednesday given its formal approval to the scheme, which had been announced by the CM Capt Amarinder Singh in Vidhan Sabha on March 5, as part of his government’s efforts to empower women and girls in the state.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
April 1, 2021 9:13:18 pm
0.00 cost tickets issued to women at Bus stand in Ludhiana Tuesday, a day after Punjab cabinet cleared free of cost travel for women in government-run buses within the state. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

AAP Punjab co-incharge Raghav Chadha on Thursday called Chief Minister Capt Amarinder’s announcement of free travel for women in state government buses “half-hearted” and a “poor copy” of a similar initiative by the Delhi government.

The Punjab Cabinet had on Wednesday given its formal approval to the scheme, which had been announced by the CM in Vidhan Sabha on March 5, as part of his government’s efforts to empower women and girls in the state.

Interacting with the media here Thursday, Chadha said the move is only for government buses, which are very few in number in Punjab. “Maximum buses running in Punjab are private. But these are not available for free travel as announced by CM. Similarly, no free travel for women in AC buses, Volvo buses. More than 70 per cent buses running on Punjab main routes are private,” he added.

Chadha said that through this announcement, Captain Amarinder Singh was “hoodwinking” the people of Punjab. “Nakal ke liye bhi akal chahiye (you need to be smart to even copy something),” he said, adding that the Kejriwal government had made travel in DTC buses free for women about two years ago.

“The government has not made travel free for women in private buses nor announced any reduction in their fares. In government buses too, AC and Volvo buses are not free. Also, women travelling in Punjab government buses outside the state will have to pay the difference of fare while travelling outside state boundaries,” he added.

Further questioning this plan, Chadha said private buses ply on more than 70 per cent of the routes in Punjab. “Private buses run mostly on link roads. The buses connecting villages to the cities and those connecting villages to other villages are almost private, so how is the Captain government claiming to provide free bus facility to women?” he asked.

He further said that if the CM really wants to make travel free for the women of Punjab, the government should extend the scheme to all private and government buses. Taking a dig at Amarinder, Chadha said that when he was only copying Arvind Kejriwal, then he should do it completely.

“Captain government should also provide free electricity to the people in Punjab like in Delhi. The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi is providing free electricity to the people by purchasing power from other states, but despite the production of electricity in Punjab, the Captain government is robbing people through electricity,” he alleged.

He said AAP would very soon launch a state-wide agitation on the high power tariffs in Punjab and “ensure that Capt Amarinder Singh is forced to lower the power tariffs in the state”.

He also accused the CM of handing over the government of Punjab to a retired bureaucrat and a “false promising election strategist”, stating that Amarinder was “resting in his royal farmhouse and not once in the last four years had he met the public”.

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