Free travel for women in Punjab govt buses

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Chandigarh, Mar 31 (PTI) Women in Punjab can travel free of cost by government-run buses Thursday onwards.

The state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on Wednesday gave its approval to the scheme that is going to benefit over 1.31 crore women/girls in the state.

According to Census 2011, Punjab has a population of 2.77 crore (1,46,39,465 males and 1,31,03,873 females).

Women can avail this scheme in the government-owned buses, including Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC), Punjab Roadways Buses (PUNBUS) and city bus services operated by the Local Bodies department.

However, it is not applicable to the government-owned AC, Volvo and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) buses.

Earlier this month, the chief minister promised to make travel in the state free for women.

A chief minister's office (CMO) spokesperson said documents like Aadhaar card, voter card or any other proof of residence in Punjab would be accepted to avail the facility.

'Further, all women, who are family members of Punjab government employees and reside in Chandigarh, or are themselves employees of the state government but live in Chandigarh, can avail the benefit, irrespective of age and income criteria, of free travel in the said government buses,' the official said.

'This scheme is not only expected to reduce female drop-out in schools because of the high cost of daily transport and but also facilitate working women, who have to travel considerable distances to their workplace,' he added.

The facility will thus ensure access to 'safe, cheap and reliable' travel for women to engage in any economic activity.

Since the scheme is expected to encourage women and their companions to utilise public transport, 'it would naturally bring down the number of private vehicles plying on the roads, leading to consequent reduction in pollution, accidents, and vehicular congestion', the cabinet said. PTI CHS VSD MGA KJ