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Pre-election move: Free bus pass for disabled, 50% fare for senior citizens in Mumbai

As per 2011 census, there are 12 lakh elderly people in the city and 21 per cent among them, live below the poverty line.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
Updated: May 3, 2016 9:48:21 am
As per 2011 census, there are 12 lakh elderly people in the city and 21 per cent among them, live below the poverty line. As per 2011 census, there are 12 lakh elderly people in the city and 21 per cent among them, live below the poverty line.

While the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has been taking various initiatives to woo voters, such as reducing tariffs of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking, the Shiv Sena has decided to counter the BJP by giving free passes to disabled people and 50 per cent concessions to senior citizens.

Mayor Snehal Ambekar, who belongs to the Shiv Sena, has asked the civic administration to work on the modalities to issue the free passes to the disabled people and the passes with 50 per cent concessions to senior citizens.

As per 2011 census, there are 12 lakh elderly people in the city and 21 per cent among them, live below the poverty line.

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“I have asked the civic authorities to work on the modalities and they are figuring out the ways for it. We are planning to have a big event of issuing passes to these people. It will happen in next 8-10 days,” said Ambekar, who has claimed that she has been consistently following up the issues of the senior citizens over the years.

Ambekar recently shot off a letter protesting against the cancellation of 52 BEST bus routes, mostly run from the Sena strongholds.
Sources in Shiv Sena however said there was a plan to have a small event to issue passes on May 1 at the mayor’s bungalow.

“The plan was to give monthly and tri-monthly passes with 50 per cent concessions to the handicapped people and to senior citizens. Since the mayor asked us to give free passes to the handicapped people, we are studying it. So the plan has been postponed further,” said a civic official.

A Sena corporator said party president Uddhav Thackeray was also briefed on this initiative. “If everything works out smoothly in next 8-10 days, we will have a big event and also call the party president for the programme of issuing free passes and passes with concessions.

As of now, we are waiting for the civic administration to work out on things,” said the corporator.

Ambekar has used her discretion in allotting the development funds in the financial budget 2016-17. Around Rs 10 lakh has been kept aside for giving concessions in passes to the handicapped people and to the senior citizens. It has also been approved in the group leaders’ meeting earlier.

In last month, for the first time, Shiv Sena and BJP exchanged the portfolios of statutory committees in the civic body BEST, which was headed by Sena till March, has been given to the BJP.

It gave up the education committee for Shiv Sena. Now, the BEST committee is headed by BJP Corporator Mohan Mithbaokar.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Shiv Sena corporators protested against the BEST’s decision of scrapping the 52 bus routes that were making least profits. Subsequently, the public transport has decided to restore its services in the next three days. Huge public demand has resulted in this action, claimed BEST.

The BEST had issued an order of scrapping 52 of its bus services which generate the least income for the public transport.

However, this move had created a big hue and cry among political circles, with Shiv Sena asking for a quick removal of this order.

The BEST has claimed of restarting the services of the 52 buses in phases and study its services for a period of time.

Jagdish Patil, General Manager, BEST said, “We have decided to restore the services of these 52 buses taking into consideration a huge demand by the public for the same. Our next step will be to decide the scheduling of the staff for these buses.”

(with inputs from Neha Kulkarni)

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