State govt to decide on free bus pass to students in a week

Source: S.O. News Service | By Sajjad Qazi | Published on 19th July 2018, 12:12 PM | State News |

Bengaluru: Karnataka government today said it would take a decision soon on the issue of providing free bus pass to all categories of students across the state.

"Education Minister has said that education department will foot 25 per cent of the cost. Chief Minister iscurrently in Delhi, once he is back, both the EducationMinister and I will meet him regarding this.. within this week it will be finalised," Transport Minister D C Thammanna told reporters here.

The decision to provide free bus pass to all categories of students across the state is expected to costthe exchequer about Rs 2,000 crore annually and would benefit about 19,60,000 students.

Free bus pass for students was announced in the last budget presented by the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

However, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy who presenteda fresh budget of the coalition government on July 5 with a promise to continue all programmes of the previous government was non-committal on this.

Student unions had called for a strike on July 21, demanding implementation of free bus passes to students as promised in the budget.

Thammanna said he has already spoken to certainstudents' organisations that have called for strike and triedto persuade them.

Asked how the department would manage the burden whenit was already incurring loss and would there be any fare hike, the Transport Minister said, there was a proposal to hike bus fare by 20 per cent and we are yet to decide on it.

Stating that the state transport corporation is revenue earning organisation with annual revenue of about Rs 6,000 crore, he said we have asked for Rs 1,000 crore as subsidy from the government.

Responding to a question on electric buses, Thammanna said, "... there was not much progress on that yet, some proposals have come.. we are studying them, and we are expectinga few more." 

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