The Haryana government Sunday said there will be no free travel facility for women in state roadways buses on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan this year in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, a move that drew criticism from senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
“The free (travel) service has been discontinued (for women) on Monday this time in view of the Covid-19 situation as a limited number of people are allowed to travel in a bus,” Haryana Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma said.
“In a 52-seater bus, only 30 passengers are allowed to travel,” he said while appealinf to people to maintain social distancing, wear face masks and sanitise their hands before boarding the buses.
Hitting out at the government over the decision, Hooda alleged it will put undue burden on a large number of families facing financial distress due to months of lockdown and an economic slowdown in the country.
“This will be the first time in 14 years that the state government will collect fare from women on Raksha Bandhan. Our government started this free bus service giving women of the state a gift on Raksha Bandhan,” the former Haryana chief minister said.
“Elderly women were charged half fare on Roadways buses during the Congress government and going a step ahead, Congress had promised free journey for women in roadways buses during the 2019 assembly elections manifesto. Far from providing relief to women, this government has taken back whatever concessions were given to them,” he said.
The firmer CM said the government should reconsider its decision.
Hooda said the government should not give the excuse of Covid-19 to discontinue the free travel service and instead run more buses to avoid crowding and ensure social distancing and safety of women who will visit their brothers.
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