Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Tuesday announced 50 per cent concession in fare for women passengers in the government-owned public transport buses.
The decision comes close on the heels of Arvind Kejriwal-led government starting free bus rides for women, considered to be one of the several populist measures, which led the AAP to a resounding consecutive win in Delhi.
Earlier, speaking in the Vidhan Sabha, Amarinder said his government was “totally committed to ending monopolistic practices and cartelisation in the transport sector, which the previous SAD-BJP regime had promoted to its own benefit.”
He declared 5,000 new mini bus route permits in the next two years for the youth. Another 2,000 route permits would be provided for regular 52-seater stage carriage buses during the next two years, he told the House.
Amarinder assured the House that any transport permits found illegal would be cancelled, adding that show cause notices had already been issued for 142 permits, which were being examined as per law.
The transport department was in the process of issuing 15-day show cause notices to the remaining 212 permits as well, said Amarinder, promising “total transparency in issuance of permits, along with all possible steps to break the monopoly in the transport sector”.
He also assured to check “undue profiteering in the transport business”, and said that a new mining policy would be brought out soon to eliminate the mining mafia in the state.
On the issue of the state transport policy, the chief minister said the matter was sub-judice but necessary action would be taken as per the directions of the court, as and when the issue was settled.
Earlier, speaking during the debate on the budgetary estimates for 2020-21, Gidderbaha MLA Amarinder Singh Raja Warring trained guns on his own government while demanding a “transport policy”.
“Government goes on the backfoot on the issue of transport policy and we have to face embarassment,” he said.
He warned that if the monopoly in the transport sector is not ended, the government will have to pay a price (“khamiaja bhugtana paina”). He added that the finance minister should announce 200 new buses and to end monopoly, operators of those buses should decide which routes they wanted to ply buses on by paying government on kilometre scheme.
Talking about sand mafia, Warring said that it should be made available free of cost to the people of the State.
“Je rete te transport da hal na keeta fer apni gal nahi ban ni (If sand and transport issues are not addressed, we will not be able to make it),” Warring said, in an apparent reference to the 2020 Vidhan Sabha elections.
Referring to Amarinder, Warring said that if sand was made available free of cost and transport mafia is ended, “your name will be written in golden letters”.
The MLA said if these two issues are addressed, the CM does not need to do any other work.
Warring also questioned a “Rs 600 crore loss” in excise duty and demanded that accountability be fixed for that, especially when liquor was costly in Punjab and still there was loss. He said mafia was at work and for excise duty paid for two trucks, eight trucks of liquor were making their way through.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema also raised the issue of liquor and sand mafia and said “mafia rule which had been prevalent in the SAD-BJP regime continued during Amarinder Singh’s rule too”. “If government sells one bottle of liquor, mafia sells ten bottles,” claimed Cheema.
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