Concessional bus travel scheme for elderly women fails to take off
Old and lone, a woman in her 70’s sits on a desk at the bus stand, waiting! .punjab Updated: Oct 15, 2016 14:55 IST
Old and lone, a woman in her 70’s sits on a desk at the bus stand, waiting! .
She is without the bus pass which provides concessional bus travel facility to women.
Oblivious to the scheme, started by the Punjab government, she replied, “Nahee, kedi scheme hai eh, kitho di milda hai pass, paise bahut ghat hai mere kol, changa hai agar pass ban jaae (Which scheme is this, from where can I get the pass, I don’t have money, it will be good for me).”
She is among hundreds of other women who don’t know about the scheme because of lack of publicity.
The said scheme was started in public interest. The scheme ‘concessional bus travel facility to women (state sponsored)’ was started with an aim ‘to infuse confidence and security among aged women.’
Officials who are dealing with the scheme say that they are not sure about the concessional bus travel facility to women scheme if it is still running or not. The scheme was launched in January 1997.
Women who had made these passes some years ago are the only holders. Surjeet Kaur, 73, said that she had made her pass around 12 years ago. As per the information, since last four years not even a single pass has been made.
All women above the age of 60 years residing in Punjab are the target group for the scheme.
According to the procedure, identity cards are issued to eligible women by Child Development Project Officers (CDPO).
One of the CDPO informed that they were not making any new passes but were renewing the old ones.
The scheme was started in 1997 as free bus pas service and in 1999 the scheme was changed to concession of 50 % in bus pas service.
Since last four years, not even a single pass has been made, said Amarjit Singh Bhullar, district program officer.
He claimed that no one even came to them to avail the benefits of the scheme.
As per information, last year an applicant had come from Balachaur, but no application was made even though RTI was filed by the applicant.
“We had sent the letter to ask about the status from the head office but no information has been received yet,” said an official.
Mostly officials expressed confusion over the present status of the scheme, while taking to HT. However, Neeta Gupta, deputy director of Punjab social service department said that the scheme is very much in service.
She also apprised that every year a grant of `1 crore 9 lakh is given by the state government under the scheme.
“We have sent orders to make passes, there should not be any officer who is not making it,” said Gupta. “There are at present lakhs of beneficiaries of the scheme in the state,” she added.